Sen. Lee (R) introduced an amendment on Monday that called for a small spending cut, so that the government can begin to offset the immense amount of money being spent on relief efforts for Super Storm Sandy. The U.S. Budget Control Act requires Congress to reduce spending by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday defeated Lee's bill by a vote of 35-62.
Lee's amendment asked the government to cut federal spending over the next nine years, by just one-half of one percent, so that it could serve as a minor trade-off for the Sandy disaster relief bill. Although the amendment would not have offset the spending by much, Lee said it underscores the reluctance by Congress to reign in spending. (click here to view Lee's full statement)
"My amendment would have cut a tiny fraction of total federal spending," Lee said. "It is the equivalent of cutting 50 cents for every $100 Congress appropriates. Unfortunately, the Senate has again revealed it is not serious about showing even the smallest bit of fiscal discipline."
Not only does Congress have to cut $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, Lee said that $109 billion of it must be cut in the first year alone. That's 17 times more than his amendment would cut this year.
"We have tough days ahead if, today, we cannot find one-half of one percent to eliminate," Lee said. "Paying for what you spend should not be controversial. It should be a principle Congress follows every time we spend the taxpayer dollars of hard-working Americans."
While acknowledging that his proposal would have done little to entirely fix the problem, Lee said it would at least be a step in the right direction.
"Today's vote underscores the need for structural spending reforms," he said. "No Congress will restrain itself, therefore we need structural restraints in place to prevent future Congresses from driving the country further into debt."
- Sen. Mike Lee (official site)
- Sen. Lee statement on failed amendment