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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Commentary

Putting partisanship aside and making tough choices


Published:

Whenever we’re home in Florida, our constituents always ask us about the country’s finances. The American people instinctively know that running mindless deficits and carrying an unsustainable debt load hurts our country and their families. They also know that a balanced budget cannot come without tough choices.

Unfortunately, history has shown that Congress refuses to make those tough choices. But some choices don’t have to be tough. There are simple, common-sense solutions to cut our deficit now.

Democrats and Republicans should put partisan bickering aside and come together on things we do agree on: Government should be more efficient, taxpayer dollars must not be wasted, and abuse of power must not be tolerated.

That is why we, along with 10 other bipartisan members of Congress, including eight members of the United Solutions Caucus, have introduced the third bill in the Savings, Accountability, Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Act series.

Our latest bill will slash government spending by over $100 billion by implementing such simple solutions as buying software in bulk, preventing the Overseas Contingency Operations from being used as a slush fund, and denying taxpayer-funded pensions for corrupt bureaucrats convicted of federal criminal charges.

Committing ourselves to finding savings wherever they may be also means merely turning off government computers for four hours a night, improving the energy efficiency of our postal fleet and federal buildings, and fixing a system in which duplicate health payments are made in exchange for no added care or benefits.

Fundamentally, these fiscally responsible measures are similar to actions taken by millions of Americans every day. To save money, we shop around and buy in bulk. We turn off electronics that are not in use. We set a household budget, and we stick to it.

These actions improve the financial health of families nationwide — it is only proper the federal government does the same on a wider scale.

Combined with the provisions in the first two SAVE Acts — which alone would eliminate about $230 billion — Congress could save the federal government a third of a trillion dollars. This is enough money to fund our military’s salaries, health care and retirement benefits for over four years. Cutting $332 billion in waste, fraud, abuse and inefficiency would show the American people that Congress is serious about the tax dollars it has been entrusted with.

By passing the SAVE Acts, we could demonstrate that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, despite gerrymandered districts, a 24-hour news cycle and a never-ending campaign cycle, can come together on behalf of the American people.

We are proud this bill is represented by every corner of the United States and viewpoints on the left, right and center. Gridlock, bickering and shouting do nothing for the American people, but coming together to develop common-sense solutions is what the public demands of its leaders.

There is no arguing that Washington is a mess, but as we work together on bills such as the SAVE Acts, we can give the American people optimism that the government they deserve is closer to reality than they think.

U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, represents the 13th District. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, represents the 18th District.

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