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Focus on the Economy

Our economic situation is straining the budgets of families, small businesses and farmers throughout Nebraska who are trying to make ends meet in the face of increased health care costs, a tightened credit market, and rising unemployment. There is no easy solution; that's why it is incumbent on the President to work with Congress to address the country's fiscal challenges, which begins by reining in spending. Our ongoing reckless spending is a key factor causing our weak economy and the biggest barrier to job growth. Right now, our debt is over $16 trillion; it is projected to surpass $20 trillion within a decade. Additionally, we are currently borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar we spend. 

The more money we owe to our debt holders, the more they will question our ability to repay it. This could have rippling effects across the country: credit for houses, cars and student loans could skyrocket, causing college or that first house to be out of reach for many. The ability for local municipalities to fund the construction of roads and bridges may need to be diverted to pay off debt. All of this is why federal spending – and in turn, our debt – must be brought under control. 

Entitlement programs make up approximately half of our government spending and must be addressed in any serious plan to get our country on a sustainable course. Reforming these programs will ensure they are available for future generations. 

In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit by $2 trillion and increase the federal debt ceiling-the amount the United States can legally borrow- in order to meet the country's financial obligations.

I would have preferred a long-term plan that addresses insolvent entitlement programs, requires a balanced budget and reforms the tax code, but I also believe our country must pay its bills. Defaulting on our debt could have cost trillions in higher interest rates, not to mention hardship for individual Americans trying to pay off loans.  

As Governor of Nebraska, I balanced budgets annually and opposed higher taxes in order to keep more money in the pockets of hard-working Nebraskans and spur job growth across the state.  I have brought that common-sense approach to the Senate and will continue to work toward lowering taxes and bringing certainty to the market so our job creators can expand and grow.

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