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STEIL AT PERRINE'S

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., right, shakes hands with customer Bob Donnelly while working the counter at Lou Perrine's on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Steil worked behind the counter at the gas station and convenience store, 5145 Sheridan Road, as part of a National Association of Convenience Stores outreach program designed to connect congressmen with the issues and concerns facing small business owners.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil didn’t please everyone when he voted against the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 last month. But he refused to add to the nation’s expanding deficit.

Last week he was quick to put out a statement after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its report on the economic forecast for the next 10 years.

The CBO increased its projections for this year’s federal deficit by $63 billion and increased its forecast for deficits over the next decade by $800 billion.

Deficits exceeding $1 trillion will kick in beginning next year and average $1.2 trillion annually over the coming decade.

“Washington has a spending problem,” the freshman Republican representing the First Congressional District said. “The CBO’s economic projection for the next decade outlines the need to rein in federal spending. Our broken budget process results in expensive funding bills with no plan to pay for them.”

Steil is new to the scene and gets it. We would be better off with dozens of new people like him, who see this as a monumental problem for generations.

Instead, we have people who want to blame President Trump and Republicans, or President Obama and Democrats, not realizing that both are the problem.

And we have a political campaign shaping up — with 20 or so Democrats already in — that will feature debate after debate and event after event with candidates not talking much about the deficit. There are so many other issues, you know.

But this one should hit home for everyone who has children and grandchildren. Somewhere down the road this will have to be paid for.

“This practice has gone on far too long,” Steil said. “I continue to work with my colleagues to improve our budget process and bring fiscal responsibility back to Congress.”

As for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 that he opposed, it increased the deficit by $320 billion and added $1.7 billion to the cumulative deficit over the next 10 years.

CBO Director Phillip Swagel said lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies..

“The nation’s fiscal outlook is challenging,” he said. “Federal debt, which is already high by historical standards, is on an unsustainable course.”

A good start would be to make it a top issue during the presidential campaign, one that voters care about and candidates must address. And then led by the president, get to work, as Steil says, to improve the budget process and become fiscally responsible.

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