For years, we've talked about what we would do if Republicans controlled Congress and the White House. We'd balance the budget; we'd invest in our military; we'd reform our tax code and reduce the regulatory burden on American small businesses; we'd help put people back to work.
With President Trump in office, now is the time for action. Today, the House Budget Committee released "Building a Better America," our plan to fulfill the promises we've made to the American people. This budget is no longer just a vision document. This year, our budget is a plan for action.
As we built our budget for 2018, we prioritized five principles: balancing the budget to protect future generations from the coming debt crisis, promoting job creation, strengthening our national defense, returning power back to the states, and reforming government and improving accountability.
We believe that these five principles, put into practice, will help us build a better America we can be proud to leave to future generations.
Balancing the budget
For too long, Washington has failed to abide by the simple principle that all American families and small businesses do -- that we must live within our means. During the eight Obama years our national debt increased by $9 trillion; now totaling almost $20 trillion. That number is set to grow to $30 trillion by 2027 if we continue the status quo. That's not only irresponsible, it is morally wrong. Building a Better America puts our country on a sustainable spending path to ensure that our children and grandchildren will have their chance to live the American Dream.
Balancing the budget requires us to make difficult choices, but I knew that when I took on the role of Budget Committee chairman. I was elected to make tough choices, as were all the members of our committee. Balancing the budget requires us to begin changing the culture in Washington and addressing mandatory spending. While many think immediately of entitlement programs, the mandatory spending ledger encompasses dozens of programs. Our budget requires a minimum of $203 billion in mandatory savings -- the largest mandatory spending reforms since the 1990s -- as a down payment on our commitment to addressing our ballooning deficits.
This moment in history demands guts and political leadership, because without it, our country is heading for financial ruin caused by our national debt. Building a Better America makes the tough choices that get our country back on track.
Promoting job creation
The economic potential of American entrepreneurs and small businesses has been held back in recent decades by the massive expansion of the federal government. Presidents and Congresses of both parties have spent too much, regulated too much, and grown the federal bureaucracy too much. Our budget reverses this trend. By getting the federal government out of the way -- through regulatory reform, tax reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare and deficit reduction -- we can unleash the power of the free-market economy, provide opportunity and create jobs at a rate that reflects our true potential. Through reconciliation, our budget specifically paves the way for deficit neutral tax reform that will unleash the American economy.
Strengthening our national defense
Over the last eight years, we've seen a weakening of our military potential and readiness. The failed foreign policy of the Obama years has left us in a position where our allies don't respect us and our enemies don't fear us. Our budget seeks to change that dynamic by significantly increasing our spending on national defense so that we can provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to face the growing threats around the globe.
Returning power back to the states
Ronald Reagan famously said "the federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government." Washington politicians and bureaucrats too often forget this concept as the bright lights of the capital and the big pocketbooks of the special interests blind them from the constitutional principle of federalism.
"Building a Better America" envisions a government more in line with the founding principles of our great country, where states, local governments, local communities, families, and charitable organizations play more of a role in our daily lives than the federal government. As we analyzed the entire federal budget, we looked for areas where we could return power back to the states, which are better suited to deal with programs directly impacting their citizens.
Reforming government and improving accountability
Every dollar collected by the federal government was earned by a hardworking American. As Chairman of the Budget Committee, I and the other members of our committee are tasked with being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and that is a responsibility I take seriously. Ensuring that every dollar is spent wisely by eliminating waste and improving accountability was a top priority as we built our budget for the 2018 fiscal year.
In this moment in history, we are faced with daunting challenges, but also presented with tremendous opportunity. We have an opportunity to take real, tangible steps to address the coming debt crisis and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations of Americans.
That's exactly what "Building a Better America" does.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee's 6th Congressional District. A nurse for more than 40 years, she serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.