Commentary: Bipartisanship, compromise needed to solve federal budget crisis

Dan Debicella
Dan Debicella

With a government shutdown looming and the United States at risk of defaulting on its debt, what is Congressman Jim Himes doing? Blaming everyone else while not offering any solutions.

His actions embody everything that is wrong with Washington, D.C. right now.

Last week, Himes said, “for our generation, debt is a hobby” — after he has voted for $7 trillion in new debt since taking office. He then blamed Republicans as “radical obstructionists” and “dead enders” who were “out of touch with the real world” and sought to drive the United States into a financial train wreck.

Did you hear the bipartisanship? Any real leadership? Solutions to our nation’s problems? If you missed it, you are not alone.

Offering insults

Washington blame-and-attack politics is hurting Fairfield County families because while your family suffers a mediocre economy and threats of government shutdown, the entrenched politicians like Jim Himes are just offering insults to the other side rather than bipartisan solutions.

This kind of thinking is why Americans give Congress a 10% approval rating — and rather than fighting this corrupt culture, Jim Himes has embraced it.

We need to move beyond this partisanship and toward common sense solutions on the budget. Both Republicans and Democrats are going to have to give a little to fix our nation’s finances.

Reasonable compromise

I believe there are two basic ideas that most Americans would agree with, and provide plenty of room for a reasonable compromise.

First, the U.S. cannot under any circumstances default on its debt. And second, that U.S. federal budget spending it out of control, increasing by almost 25% since President Barack Obama and Jim Himes took office in 2008.

Republicans therefore will have to be willing to not link the debt ceiling increase to other initiatives; and Democrats must be willing to agree to reasonable spending cuts.

If both sides are willing to talk to each other rather than call each other names, we can reach a solution that benefits Fairfield County families.

Slowly cut budget

Specifically, I believe we should adopt the “penny plan” — that the U.S. should cut 1% of the budget each year for the next five years, but give Congress the flexibility to decide where to make the cuts.

If we can find 1% savings per year (rather than the 5% average annual increases of the past five years), we can eliminate the federal deficit by 2019.

We can then implement a spending cap of 20% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to ensure big-spending Washington politicians don’t spend your money like it is their personal piggy bank.

All of this is common sense. The U.S. cannot default on our debt, nor should our families have to deal with a government shutdown.

And if your family can cut 1% out of its budget when times are tough, so can the U.S. government.

Put politics second

Entrenched politicians like Jim Himes have forgotten this common sense, as they have become part of the corrupting culture of Washington, D.C.

Solutions are possible, but only if we elect leaders who are willing to put your family above their political party and next re-election campaign.

Dan Debicella is a former state senator from Shelton and a Republican candidate for Congress in 2014.