Rep. Buchanan (R-FL): Both parties created deficit. Now they must fix it

This column is courtesy of  Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and appeared in The Hill:

Voters across the nation have sent a resounding message to Washington: end the gridlock, stop the bickering, and start working for the people.

Over the next two months, Congress and the president have an opportunity to prove that the message was received loud and clear.

The partisanship that has dominated political discourse over the past decade has created major road-blocks to sound public policy. And at a time when America faces unprecedented challenges, it is imperative that both parties in Washington come together and work toward common-sense solutions that move our economy and country forward.

The fiscal crisis that looms on the horizon must be addressed immediately. Unless action is taken before the New Year, Americans will bear the brunt of tax increases and automatic spending cuts that could plunge America back into recession. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 3.4 million jobs would be lost and the unemployment rate would spike above nine percent if we don’t act.

Failure is not an option.

I’m optimistic and confident that both parties will come to the table and produce a bold deficit reduction package that gets our economy back on track. It may not occur overnight, but it will happen.

We start by focusing on areas of agreement.

That means creating a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax code that helps get Americans back to work. The U.S. tax code consumes more than 71,000 pages and gets longer every year. Both parties and the president need to work together on a new tax code that creates jobs, revitalizes our economy and helps America resume its rightful role as the leader of the global economy.

This includes ending special-interest loopholes, such as the billions of dollars in tax breaks given to oil companies every year. The last thing we should be doing is wasting taxpayer dollars on an industry that doesn’t need our help. That’s why I voted to eliminate $18 billion in wasteful and unnecessary tax subsidies for Big Oil.

And when it comes to lowering the deficit, we must end Washington’s reckless pattern of borrowing and spending that has put our country on a road to bankruptcy. Unbelievably, in the last 50 years, the federal budget has only been balanced five times. It’s essential that Republicans and Democrats roll up their sleeves and make the tough choices necessary to balance the budget for taxpayers today and for future generations.

Both parties have contributed to our nation’s financial woes so it will take both parties working together to get us back on the path to prosperity.

We do this by pulling together, not by pulling apart.


U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is the only Florida member of Congress to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care and Social Security.

A self-made businessman, Buchanan understands that America’s economic strength flows from its entrepreneurial spirit and pro-growth, free-market policies. Buchanan has worked tirelessly to enact tax incentives to help small businesses, end burdensome regulations, and limit frivolous lawsuits.

In his third term, Buchanan is an outspoken advocate of reforming the U.S. tax code to make it simpler and fairer. He serves on the Trade and Health subcommittees on Ways and Means.