(On October 6 2008, I sent letters to each candidate running for US Congress in Harris and Fort Bend counties, asking them to publicly commit to fiscal responsibility via PAYGO. I’m posting the replies (and lack thereof) by race / district, but I’ll also be writing about my general reaction to this civics experiment, and in some cases, for which candidate I would vote.)
Texas’ Congressional District 7 (map) has three candidates running for this seat. Challenger Drew Parks (L) did not respond to my repeated requests for a position.
No. Will not support PAYGO (Update: Yes. See comments)
Yes. Will support PAYGO
John Culberson is the incumbent. Therefore, his congressional record is accessible in various formats online. Here is a good place to start, and his site includes how, and why, he voted on various bills. In addition, his campaign provided a more comprehensive statement of his position:
At the beginning of this Congress, I voted against the Democrat proposal to increase taxes on Americans (Roll Call 9). Democrats instituted pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules on all direct spending and tax legislation. PAYGO requires all new or expanded entitlement spending be fully paid for by reductions in other mandatory spending or with tax increases.
Contrary to popular belief, PAYGO does not decrease current federal spending, but rather only limits the creation of new entitlement programs. PAYGO does not affect current entitlement programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, all of which are growing at the unsustainable rate of 6% per year. This version of PAYGO does nothing to control these soaring costs, does little to address the federal spending process, and makes it easier to raise taxes. Increasing taxes is the worst possible remedy for our slumping economy.
As an original cosponsor of H.J. Res. 1, which would add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, my highest priority is balancing the budget and finding a way to limit the federal government’s unfunded liabilities of $53 trillion.
Mike Skelly is challenging for this seat. Here’s the complete email from his campaign:
Michael Skelly is a very strong supporter of PAYGO and has publicly supported it on a number of occasions. He consistently talks about the problems of reckless deficit spending, and often uses the same framing you did, discussing the debt levels as compared to GDP. It sounds like the two of you are exactly on the same page.
Since Mr. Skelly is a Democrat, I responded to ask whether he intends to caucus with the Blue Dogs. The answer is yes.
More about the Blue Dogs here and here… and here’s a post of my own on the subject from the 2006 elections.