Crapo: "Bring common sense back to our federal budgeting process"

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Below is another dialogue* between one of my students and Idaho's senior senator.

NOTE: I have around 100 students this semester. It's time to have some of them hear from, analyze, challenge, and think along with the other side of the aisle; perhaps responding to the points presented by this Republican official.

Exploring this notion of "common sense" sounds like fertile ground for some rich class discussion.

Which Democratic leaders would you suggest for such interaction?


Senator Crapo,

I am a student in MeandG’s Communications class. As an assignment, I have been asked to formulate questions for you to answer about something I am concerned about or interested in.

How do you think the budget crisis will affect my children in the future and their children?

What do you think can be done now to help ensure my children are not taking on the debt crisis when they become adults?

When, if a plan is passed, do you feel that the budget crisis would be on the path to being resolved?

Why, in your opinion, has the budget crisis become so bad?

Where do you feel the best concerted efforts should be made to improve this crisis?

Thank you again for your time. I look forward to your response.

Crapo responded:

Thank you for contacting me to express your dissatisfaction with the current political situation in Washington, D.C. I agree with you and welcome the opportunity to respond on this very important issue.

Americans are fed up with out-of-control and unsustainable spending coming from the federal government, a frustration I share. This country is facing an unprecedented budget crisis—one that threatens the stability of our economy and the fiscal viability of future generations. If left unchecked and unresolved, our children, grandchildren and future generations will have to shoulder the responsibility to repay debts incurred today through irresponsible spending. The problem is simply that the government spends too much money, and it has so far refused to enact meaningful policies that will bring common sense back to our federal budgeting process. In recent months, we have faced a debt ceiling crisis and a potential government shutdown, yet Senate leadership continues to refuse to pass a budget. When added to sluggish economic growth, government regulatory policies that are choking small business and continued high unemployment rates throughout the country, it is no wonder that Americans are up in arms over federal spending and debt. Washington simply cannot continue to operate this way without enacting significant changes. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have seen many 10-year budget plans, but without adequate enforcement provisions. Congress inevitably finds loopholes to avoid spending controls. It is time to stop borrowing money from future generations, as these actions do not lead to long-term growth and economic stabilization. The solution to our problems will require dramatic action and shared sacrifice. The sheer scope of our fiscal situation means every part of our government ledger sheet must be scrutinized.

For these and many other reasons, I continually seek to support legislation that would bring federal spending in line. Most recently, I co-sponsored and voted for the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation, which would have made significant strides in cutting federal spending, dealing with unwarranted spending increases and putting our country under a balanced budget requirement. In the last few years, I have opposed every big spending bill that has come before Congress, including the TARP bailouts, the stimulus bill, the President’s health care bill, and many omnibus appropriations bills. I have long supported a Balanced Budget Amendment, even dating back to my days in the Idaho State Senate.

There is much that needs to be done, but there is reason for hope. The direction of debate in Congress over spending issues has shifted dramatically from how much it can spend to a concentrated discussion about cutting spending. Just a couple years ago, Congress was focused on things like stimulus spending and bailouts, all of which I opposed. The wrongheaded notion that we can spend ourselves into prosperity has rightly been thrown out the window. Instead, the debates are focused on how much spending to cut, and how we can best enforce spending restraint on future Congresses. This is a positive development for our country, but there is still so much more that needs to be addressed.

As a member of the Senate Finance, Budget, and Banking Committees, I have been pushing aggressively for enhanced oversight of these unprecedented government interventions to make sure the taxpayer is being protected. I share your commitment to a cost-effective federal budget and the need to eliminate wasteful spending. Reducing federal spending has been a top priority for me throughout my public service. I am committed to restoring the federal budget to balance, and this effort requires careful scrutiny of all programs funded by the American taxpayer. We owe it to our children, grandchildren and future generations to do nothing less.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me in the future on this or other matters of interest to you. For more information about the issues before the U.S. Senate as well as news releases, photos, and other items of interest, please visit my Senate website,

Mike Crapo
United States Senator


*For the previous discussion, see Should food stamp choices be regulated? A dialogue with Senator Mike Crapo