Cole: Trying To Control The Spending Explosion
By Congressman Tom Cole
A government shutdown has been averted. For now.
Harry Reid and Senate Democrats were poised to close the government rather than accept House Republicans' plan to cut $100 billion from the remaining months of the 2011 budget.
The House GOP majority remained firm in our conviction that spending must be reduced and passed a short-term version of our original legislation. Rather than cutting $100 billion over 7 months, this bill cuts $4 billion over two weeks.
Although the Senate agreed to the temporary bill, we will have to fight for spending cuts all over again before the bill expires March 18.
Listening to Democrats' rhetoric as they resist each and every spending cut proposal, it may seem as if the spending levels in question have been in place for decades, and that the programs connected to them can't possibly survive being funded at lower levels.
Americans might be surprised to learn that the republic managed to carry on as recently as 2007 with just a $161 billion deficit. The $1.5 trillion deficit we have now is the product of the spending explosion that took place under just four years of Democratic control.
It is entirely realistic and necessary to get spending back to pre-stimulus levels. But we need the cooperation of the Democratically controlled Senate and White House.
In addition to the short-term spending cuts, the House also recently passed the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act. This legislation repeals a burdensome provision of Obamacare requiring small businesses and rental property owners to file an IRS Form-1099 for any vendor with which they have more than $600 in yearly transactions.
The bill reduces the deficit by $166 million in the first 10 years, cuts federal spending by $20 billion over ten years and reduces taxes by $19.7 billion. Repealing this mandate will save businesses untold hours and dollars completing paperwork for every transaction of $600 or more.
An IRS ombudsman estimated the 1099 provision would hit 40 million businesses, including 26 million sole proprietors, and cautioned that "small businesses that lack the capacity to track customer purchases may lose customers, leaving the economy with more large national vendors and less local competition."
Translation: small businesses could go under just from the costs of complying with this one obscure provision of the health care law.
The 1099 provision is a perfect example of the many ways President Obama's economic policies burden small businesses and stifle job growth. I've received numerous complaints from Oklahomans about the cost increases and paperwork headaches created by this onerous Obamacare regulation. Repealing it will remove a significant barrier to economic growth and job creation.
With the spending cuts and 1099 repeal, congressional Republicans continue to make progress on the priorities voiced by the American people, while liberals in Washington work to preserve the unsustainable status quo. House Republicans have demonstrated that we are committed to cutting spending and keeping the government running.
Now Harry Reid and Senate Democrats must decide whether to work with us or to fight the spending cuts demanded by the American people.