OP-ED: ‘The single, biggest threat to national security’
On Sept. 22, 2011, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen warned: “I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is debt.”
He’s right — and not the only military or intelligence expert to offer a similar sentiment. The United States of America faces many existential threats from ISIS, rogue nations and illegal immigration. However, our nation encounters no greater menace than our inability to bring our debt under control. This internal, bipartisan recklessness endangers Americans everywhere.
As of May 4, 2018, the public debt stood at $21,037,962,909,322.34. In less than a year, the U.S. saw the national debt surpass $20 trillion (September) and $21 trillion (March). This fiscal year, Congress passed seven short-term spending bills that were signed into law, culminating with a $1.3 trillion omnibus package in March. None of these spending bills balanced the federal budget or cut spending.
Worse still — in passing these short-term spending bills (or continuing resolutions — CR’s), Congress did so without following “regular order,” which allows members of Congress to offer and debate amendments to appropriations bills. These CR’s were crafted by a select few in Congress, away from the majority of members and with little transparency for our constituents.
Many of my colleagues and I have promised to reform, prioritize and cut spending, but have been unable to keep our commitments because of the current warped process that the Legislative Branch currently operates.
The warning signs are clearly visible on Social Security and Medicare. According to projections from their boards of trustees, these programs will be depleted in 2029 and 2034, respectively. Our constituents depend on these funds, yet the programs are facing an uncertain financial future. We must ensure we keep the promises we made to our seniors.