Guest Post: House Has Passed Budget, It’s Time For The Senate To Join The Conversation


In North Dakota, we understand the importance of living within your means. That’s what North Dakota families and small businesses do. And our state legislature balances our state budget every two years as well.

Unfortunately in Washington, leaders from both parties have balanced our nation’s budget with a credit card. Today, our nation is $15.5 trillion in debt, yet Washington continues to borrow $4 billion every day, placing this overwhelming debt burden on our children and grandchildren. Right now, each one of our children owes $49,000 toward our national debt— a debt that is owed to countries like China. Meanwhile, President Obama’s budget proposal would lead to a trillion dollar deficit for the fourth year in a row.

I have a twelve-year-old son, Jack, and this isn’t the future I want to pass on to the next generation. This isn’t the North Dakota way of doing things. To get our nation back on track, we must pass a budget that works to lower the debt and provides a clear path out of our nation’s fiscal crisis.

To balance our budget, we need to do what we did here in North Dakota a decade ago – take an honest look at our financial situation and make tough choices about what was most important for our state. That’s how we’ve balanced our budget in North Dakota. Part of fixing Washington is a Balanced Budget Amendment. North Dakota has a requirement for a balanced budget, and Washington needs one. Last year, I fought to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Unfortunately, President Obama rallied his allies to block it. I will continue to pursue one at every opportunity.

This budget also recognizes that President Obama’s health care overhaul weakens the Medicare program and cuts health care services and access for seniors. On top of $500 billion in Medicare cuts, the President’s overhaul empowers an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats to achieve “cost savings” through cutting reimbursement rates for Medicare services– without any Congressional oversight or input. That will directly affect today’s seniors’ access to care. And even with these cuts, the President’s own advisors still project Medicare will go bankrupt by 2024 – just 12 years from now.

We owe it to our seniors, and the next generation, to save Medicare, rather than sitting by idly and watching Obamacare destroy it. But it will take bipartisan ideas to come to workable agreement, which is why this plan includes a bipartisan model from Democrat Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Paul Ryan to save Medicare. This plan ensures that there are no cuts or changes in benefits for anyone 55 or older—something Obamacare fails to do. In addition, this proposal also preserves traditional Medicare as an option for all future seniors.

There is still work to be done and there are tough decisions to be made. But the only way to make these decisions is by bringing forward ideas for consideration. Our nation is on an unsustainable path and it is time for leaders in Washington to engage in an honest dialogue to lower our national debt and end Washington’s culture of reckless spending, while still ensuring that our priorities are supported, like keeping the promises made to our seniors and saving Medicare. That’s what the House has done, and it’s time that the Senate joins the conversation so that we can work together to turn around the course that our nation is on.

Congressman Rick Berg represents North Dakota in the U.S. House of Representatives

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  • Dakotacyr

    There’s no conversation when not everything is on the table.  You want the conversation on your terms and your terms only.  That is not a conversation.

    • Rob

      It would be nice if Democrats put anything on the table.

      But no, tax hikes shouldn’t be on the table.  Revenues are not the problem.  Spending is.

      • Tim Heise


      • Dakotacyr

        there you go.  There is no way you can balance the budget with just cuts, the public won’t accept draconian cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid. 

        So my point stands and you made it for me.  There is no conversation to be had and Berg is just lying.

        • Econwarrior

          Wrong.  Giving the Dem spenders more of our money to buy our votes is like giving more dope to a drug addict.  The only way to cure addiction is to stop using, and the only way to restore fiscal sanity is to stop wasteful spending.
          You reveal your hypocrisy when you talk politics; that’s always the Dem copout, that they can no longer buy votes without spending our money, so they can’t stop spending, just like a dope addict never thinks he or she can stop.  If they don’t they die, and if the Dems don’t stop spending, our country will die.
          Only an idiot would cut SS and Medicare; they have to be restructured to pay their own way, but we have to care for the Boomers, now that they have built the largest economy in history.  Cut the fat cat salaries and “defined benefit” pensions for govt drones, and eliminate duplicate and useless agencies.  At the same time, go all out with real energy development, so that we again dominate the world market, so we can take back the price determination of oil from OPEC.  We will need the jobs we have been sending overseas with our oil money to hire the drones that get cut from the govt.  We will also cut off the money that now funnels to terrorists, which is good for everybody in the world.
          It’s about stopping patronage politics and using real world solutions.

  • Jeff

    How long has it been since the Senate passed a budget? Oh yeah, 1067 days. Are you kidding me? How irresponsible is that?! Think their going to pass one this year? Don’t count on it with Senate Democrats seeking reelection and not wanting that vote on their record. 

  • whowon

    The House did vote on Obama’s budget yesterday, not one vote FOR it. 

  • DaveH63

    I just don’t see Berg being part of the solution. I think he likes being a politician too much.

  • Roy_Bean

    I would like to respectfully ask Mr Berg what he was thinking when he voted for the debt limit increase.  I also think his statement that there will be no cuts for anyone over 55 is unrealistic.  We all helped create this mess, we all have to live with it.  People over 55 are old enough to be told that there’s no Santa Claus. 

  • Camsaure

    I agree with Roy Bean and Dave H above. You Mr Berg did not sound or act that way back in August or whenever it was when you supported the debt limit increase. That was probably the most important item you have voted on since you have been in Washington. That vote of yours helped promote progressivism and Obama’s reelection. What is your explanation Mr Berg? What were you offered to sell us out and our childrens future? We are awaiting your explanation. By the way we are not as easily fooled as in the past, we have better media now days. Well, how about it?

  • Sparkie Arbuckle

    Why doesn’t Berg give us all the details about what he and Ryan intend to do with medicare.

    Why doesn’t Berg take a bow for jocking the Democrat’s wedge issue for them.  Is this a bipartisan bill, or is the senator from Oregon taking one for the team?  Can’t help but notice he’s not running again until 2016.

    Important question:  Are any Democrats that are up for election going anywhere near it?

    Wyden is cloak and daggering your asses.

  • Sparkie Arbuckle

    The GOPs still don’t want to pay for Bush’s spending frenzy.  They didn’t when he was spending, but they were happy to cheer it on in the name of security.  They are still suggesting that we buy a missile defense system for the EU and Israel, but they don’t want to help pay for healthcare for seniors who paid out their entire working career to receive that benefit.  They want to give that money to the international robber barons who will move to some tax haven with it.

    You guys obviously have no desire to win the 2012 election.  I think the primary and the policy orientations you endorse lay that bare for anyone with a brain between their ears.  You can be an ideological purist, or a pragmatist.  It’s a choice we all make.

    • Econwarrior

      “…Bush’s spending frenzy…”

      If you cared about the truth, little sparkie, you would call it by its right name, the Pelosi/Reid spending frenzy.  Spending went up sharply after the Dem takeover of Congress, and that frenzy has continued, even increasing in intensity, all during the reign of obama.  Dems are alway frantic and frenzied spenders.
      It is hypocritical of you to dis our War on Terror, while wanting to give the coward obama credit for killing OBL.

      • Sparkie Arbuckle

        So, in a way, you blame it all on Senator Jeffords, eh?  If only y’all had choosen to fund the 
         Individuals with Disabilities Education Act !  Alas, I guess ideological purity over pragmatic cooperation is always going to keep biting you in the arse.

        Continue licking your wounds and blaming everyone else.  It’s kinda sad to watch, though.

        • Econwarrior

          You missed it, little sparkie; it’s not about govt spending, it’s about being a real American and putting country above your petty partisan politics.  I blame those who are at fault.

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            If you had an argument, you wouldn’t have to pretend that you and yours have a monopoly on being ‘real Americans.’  What a partisan clown.

          • Econwarrior

            Wrong again, little sparkie.  Once again, your erroneous assumptions have led you down the wrong path.  Real Americans are those of us who practice and support the founding principles of America, and who want this country to succeed, rather than being focused on narrow, unAmerican political ideology.
            You could be a real American if you abandoned your commie beliefs.  I spoke of no “monopoly”, so that is solely from the deranged contents of your mind.

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            When I need a modern McCarthyists definition of what it is to be a real American, I will come back to this.

          • Econwarrior

            In the first place, little sparkie, I have absolutely no concern for what you need.  In the second place, McCarthy was proved right by the Venona Papers, so I take it as a compliment that a commie like you describes me that way.  We need more courageous anti-communists today to root out the toxic influence of those who follow your corrupt ideology.
            I repeat: you can be a real American, if you choose to follow our founding principles.  Hint: They’re in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            Thank you for being honest with us about how you feel.

          • Econwarrior

            You need to learn the difference between thinking and feeling, little sparkie.  I realize you commies are emotionally driven, but most of us real Americans have thought things through, and have made a powerful choice on that basis.

          • Sparkie Arbuckle

            Yes, call your detractors ‘emotional commies.’  I still maintain that Ryan has poisoned your well and that Wyden is cloak and daggering you sucker GOPs into backing extremist legislation in an election year.  Again, he has that leisure as his next reelection is in 2016.

            I also note how you will not accept that any conservative has ever done anything wrong, making this back and forth  absolutely pointless, you mean ole McCarthyist… or is it McCarthywast?