Below is the Feb. 1st edition of Straight Talk with Sam, the Congressman’s e-newsletter. In it Congressman Graves discusses Obama’s spending “freeze.”

Freeze Spending At Reasonable Level

We’ve all heard the cliché about closing the barn doors after the horse has bolted. The lesson is that you cannot prevent a problem that has already happened. But that is exactly what the President proposed to do in his State of the Union speech.

He proposed a spending freeze on non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending. Discretionary spending is the spending over which Congress has direct control. Other programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are entitlement programs whose spending increases are based on a formula.

I agree with the President that we need to rein in Washington spending. However, we need far more than a spending freeze to repair a budget deficit that was $1.4 trillion last year and is projected to be $1.35 trillion this year.

The programs that the President is now proposing to freeze already received an enormous spending increase of 17.4% last year. Yes, we need to freeze spending, but not at last year’s budget-busting levels. Congress overspent last year. We need to freeze spending at a more reasonable level. It’s disingenuous to talk about fiscal discipline after approving one of the largest spending sprees in history.

For far too long, Washington has simply increased spending without worrying about where that money would come from. I’m glad that Congress is at least discussing spending less money. However, the time for half-hearted measures is over. We must begin to make tough decisions about our priorities. We need to get the horse back in the barn.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

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