Wednesday, January 31, 2018

US Rep Justin Amash on President Trump's SOTU Address

Justin Amash — US Representative for Michigan District 3
In his first State of the Union address, President Trump spoke to Congress and the American people about his priorities for the next year. Although individual members of Congress and the public disagree on how best to address these issues, many of the broad goals are ones most Americans share: a capable defense, a robust economy, and reform of the nation’s immigration laws, among others. But noticeably absent from the president’s speech were items that must be at the top of the to-do list if we are to remain a country of strength, prosperity, and liberty for the American people: addressing overspending and the growing national debt.
The U.S. government is now more than $20 trillion in debt. We closed fiscal year 2017 with a $666 billion deficit—the second highest annual deficit of the last five years and a figure unheard of before the Obama stimulus. And in the coming weeks, it’s expected that both parties will vote to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more over the next two years, increasing spending by the largest amount since President Obama’s first term. These spending levels are unsustainable—no matter the president and no matter the priorities.
The success of this Congress in “building a safe, strong, and proud America” will depend not on how “well” Republicans and Democrats choose to overspend, but on whether they can resist the urge to do so.
I agree with some of the policy proposals presented by the president in his speech, including his nod to criminal justice reform. I disagree with others, such as his embrace of economic protectionism. But I appreciate his stated desire to work with everyone and his acknowledgement that we—Congress and the president—are here to serve the American people and preserve the American dream for our children and grandchildren.
The president said that, in America, if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. I agree. That is the American dream—and I have witnessed it firsthand in my father, who came to this country as a poor refugee and built a life of success. But that dream will evade millions of Americans if the government continues to suppress economic growth, crowd out other priorities, and burden future generations with ever-increasing government spending, interest payments, and debt.
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Leader—whatever else we do this year, let’s work across party lines to tackle our most pressing challenge: preserving opportunity for all Americans by budgeting responsibly and putting our government back on a sustainable fiscal path.