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Hillsdale Daily News: The Debt Clock

May 5, 2014
Opinion Editorial

In my office sits a "U.S. debt clock" which tracks each dollar added to our debt.  The debt clock has only ticked upwards in large part due to wasteful spending and harmful government regulations. By pushing back against Washington's excess and promoting commonsense rules, I believe we can reverse this trend, increase opportunity and enable more take-home pay for all hardworking taxpayers.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has issued 157 new major rules which cost Americans nearly $73 billion annually. According to the Center for Regulatory Solutions, the cost-per-household for regulations totals more than $14,000, or 23-percent of the average family income. This commitment to expanding government's reach and ignoring Congress became even clearer when the President vowed in his January State of the Union address to push his agenda "wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation."

In Hillsdale County, we have seen this approach for some time.  From the EPA's attempts to regulate dust and redefine puddles as "navigable waters," to the Department of Labor's misguided Youth Ag Labor Rule, it is clear Washington doesn't understand rural life. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) attempted to expand their jurisdiction and inspect family farms. In response, I convened an oversight hearing and led a letter with my colleagues which resulted in a successful halt to this overreach.

In addition to stopping impractical regulations, I've worked as a member of the Oversight and Government Reform committee on a number of investigations shedding light on the culture of waste accepted in some corners of Washington. For example, in 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held conferences in Orlando costing taxpayers over $6 million - including $98,000 spent on promotional items, $50,000 on a parody video and thousands more on spa treatments and entertainment.  Examples of this type of government waste not only disrespects the American people who fund the VA, but it prevents your hard earned tax dollars from going towards the programs that really matter.

In the meantime, our national debt currently exceeds $17.5 trillion and continues to grow with each passing day.  Reversing this trend is a moral imperative, and I'm fighting in Washington to ensure this burden isn't passed on to future generations. I am committed to getting Washington working in an accountable and transparent matter on behalf of the American people and believe we can grow our economy, create jobs and one day turn off that debt clock.

 To read the original column at Hillsdale Daily News, please click here.