Americans are seeing their government leaders spend more money, which means that the average American citizen is having difficulty paying for food and gas. Biden seems to be more concerned about pleasing a base leftists than crafting a federal government that helps everyday Americans.
Rep. Kevin Hern, R.Okla., believes the government must focus on balancing its finances, especially given that it continues to spend exorbitant amounts. As chairman of the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force, Hern is in a position to advance that priority.
“The only place in America without a balanced budget has been the federal government, and we’re seeing the ramifications of that with high inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices, skyrocketing food prices,” Hern says. “The list goes on and on.”
Hern believes that President Joe Biden’s out-of-control spending has grave consequences for the safety and security of the nation.
“I think if we don’t start now, we’re never going to get our federal spending under control,” the Oklahoma Republican says. “Interest on our debt is going to be higher than our defense budget in just five years. Much of that interest is going to go to China, where they’re going to use their money to build a defense to come after us.”
Hern joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss House Republicans’ budget proposal and what the consequences of Biden’s budget would be.
These stories are also covered:
- An armed man from California is arrested near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland and says that he came to murder the justice.
- Miah Cerrillo is a fourth-grader who talks about her experience with the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde Texas.
- Biden acknowledged that voters sent a clear message to politicians that they need to be tougher in fighting crime after the successful recall elections for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Bodin.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
Doug Blair: My guest today is Congressman Kevin Hern, who represents Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District. Welcome back Congressman.
Rep. Kevin Hern Doug, it’s always a pleasure to be with your.
Blair: Of course. Blair: Yes.
Hern: Well, first, it’s the second year we’ve done the only budget that will be done in Congress, the RSC, the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in all of Congress. Last year, the committee had 10 members; this year, the budget committee has 16 members.
It balances first and foremost. This is true for all Americans. With the exception of one state, most states must have a balanced budget. A balanced budget is required for businesses.
The only place in America without a balanced budget has been the federal government, and we’re seeing the ramifications of that with high inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices, skyrocketing food prices, we’re out of baby formula. The list goes on.
This budget is less expensive, so Americans can have more.
Blair: Now, one of the things that I think is kind of interesting is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, recently said that, “Our federal budget must be a statement of our national values.” Do you think that your budget, the one that you’ve proposed, is a statement of maybe Republicans values?
Hern: Well, actually, I would tell you it’s a budget for the American people, not Republicans or Democrats.
I spent 35 years in business prior to coming up here, writing budgets, doing budgets for large organizations like McDonald’s Corp. and my businesses I have back home. I didn’t ask whether it was a Republican or a Democrat. I said, “Do these revenues really work out? Do these expenses work? And do we balance at the end of the day?” And that’s what these budgets do, last year and this year.
And I think that’s what’s important. This should not be politicized. … We’re seeing the ramifications of that. Because she said it. [President]Joe Biden put out his March budget, and we saw the results: another $20 trillion.
Even with his increased taxes that he’s proposing, it’s still a $20 trillion increase to the national debt in the next 10 years. It’s just an atrocity to see the president of the United States put—it never balances. Ever.
Blair: You have a number of goals for this budget. These include preventing a crisis in debt, ensuring the survival and protection of vital entitlement programs, as well as fulfilling a constitutional obligation of the country to defend itself. Let’s break those down. These are the goals you chose for this budget.
Hern: It’s because I wanted to restore order. I am referring to the fact that I spent my entire life working in the private industry. I was the only person I ever ran for office, and that was before I ran for Congress in 2018. And I’m here, and I think if you’re going to say you’re going to do something, you should do that.
And so I’ve worked to restore the constitutional principles and responsibility of the federal government, which is to protect us from bad actors around the world and protect us from one another. Those are our two primary functions, but not to do things like the things we’re seeing right now.
We’re seeing this president, this vice president, the secretary of homeland security have a border that has 250,000 people a month crossing it. The border is illegally crossed by 3 million people per year. …
I was referring to the bill that would have cost Ukraine $40 billion. I felt like, if we could take part of that money we’re willing to go protect another country—which, by the way, that was $54 billion at that time—why couldn’t we take a portion of that and secure our southern border?
For four years, President [Donald]Trump was criticised for not securing our southern borders and did so much to do so. Trump’s administration did everything wrong, and this president has undone it all. The American people should be concerned.
In this budget, President Biden doesn’t even put enough money in there for the national defense to meet his inflationary economy that he’s caused, he’s created. And so we’ve had to increase the budget.
We have a huge defense budget. Everyone criticizes us for this, but there are people around the globe that want to conquer us, such as Russia and China. And they’re spending money on building brand new navies in China, and so we have to be concerned about that. We need to keep the status quo and build new technologies.
Blair: You’ve definitely done some comparisons between your proposed budget and the Biden budget. Do you think that the Biden budget is more focused on leftist wish list items than actually helping American people, and that’s maybe where the biggest difference between your budgets is?
Hern: Well, I think the president’s budget, in all honesty, I think if you were to sit him down in a closed room, he would tell you it’s focused on socialist democrat issues, like destroying the fossil field industry; it’s about appeasement to our foreign adversaries and what we’re seeing; it’s about getting rid of oil and gas as we know it in our country and returning to placating Iran and Venezuela, two dictator-ran countries.
It’s very problematic. I mean, we’re returning to where we’re dependent on people around the globe instead of being independent of a lot of those pressures.
The president and many others have spoken out about China. You can’t just talk about China and pushing back on China if you’re not going to talk about removing dependency on China, like bringing manufacturing back to this country, not running companies out of our country with incredibly poor tax policy that we’re seeing right now from the Treasury Department.
So there’s so many things that we can be working on, not only in the budget. I sit on Ways and Means as a member of the tax subcommittee and am also the chairman for the subcommittee regarding health care affordability.
There are so many things that we need to be working on right now to take the financial burdens off the American people that we’re creating from a bloated federal government.
In the next five year, our interest on our debt will be higher. This obligation, which is a compulsory spend, will be greater than our military spending. So we don’t have a choice to continue to wait. The time is now.
And people ask, “Have we ever balanced our budget?” We did it for four years back in ’97 through 2001 with then-President [Bill]Clinton [then-House Speaker]Newt Gingrich [then-Senate Majority Leader]Trent Lott. It is possible, and it can be done in a bipartisan manner, but we must start today and that starts with a budget. Last year we had one, and this year we have one.
Blair: Americans are suffering from high prices for essentials like food and gas. Does the budget that you’ve proposed have any contingencies to maybe help Americans who are suffering from that?
Hern: That could be fixed by simply applying our free market principles. That’s what President Trump did. That’s why you saw prices at the pump get down to $1.69, $1.79 a gallon.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I’m from, which historically has the lowest prices in the country, we’re now at $4.29 and growing quickly. And the reason for that is the oil and gas folks are saying, “We’re not going to turn on any more wells when we have a government that wants to destroy us. They’re pushing production around the world, as opposed to here in the United States.”
So that’s the first thing, is turn back on our safe pipelines. It’s insane to think that trucking stuff across the water—if you think about this, we’re bringing the oil and gas that we need on tankers across the oceans, but we can’t put them in our pipelines here in the United States. It’s just insane, the thinking that’s going on with this administration and the Pelosi-led Democrats.
Blair: You are running for the Republican Study Committee, as a separate note to the budget. We are interested in your explanation of what that is and why it is important for our listeners.
Hern: Yeah. There are a lot of caucuses up here with similar ideas, whether it’s the airplane caucus or the Small Business Caucus.
The Republican Study Committee was formed—next year, it’ll be its 50th anniversary. It was established in 1972, when President Richard Nixon began to abandon conservative principles and adopt a more liberal stance.
There were some Republicans in the minority who, however, started the idea of having a, it was referred to as something else then but moving forward the conservative ideas, principles, and policies of the Republican Party.
And it’s grown. There are four current chairs who were former chairs. It’s a two-year term only. There are no reelections or similar. [Minority Whip Steve]Scalise was RSC’s chair. Our current chair is, [Rep.] Jim Banks. [Rep.]Mike Johnson And then, when you look at that, it becomes clear. [Rep.]Jim Jordan was also the chair.
There are so many prominent members of Congress who have the guts to stand up for the core principles and guideposts of the Republican Party.
Blair: What would your priorities be if you were elected to this office?
Hern: Yeah. I think, typically, historically what’s happened is the Budget and Spending Task Force chairman has got a one-year deal. Jim Banks asked for me to do it again. So it’s two years in a succession.
I have a good understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the federal budget. It’s not like any old mom and pop budget, for sure. There’s no other budget like it in the world.
Blair: A little more
Hern: Yes, a little more. There are many zeros at the ends. It’s hard to say trillions until you start seeing how many zeros—it’s like a bunch of zeros.
Blair: Right, right.
Hern: I’m not going to write it. It’s just a bunch of zeros.
But it’ll be, first and foremost, to what we do.
I think if we don’t start now, we’re never going to get our federal spending under control. As I said, the interest on our national debt will surpass our defense budget in five years. Much of that interest is going to go to China, where they’re going to use their money to build a defense to come after us.
All things in America begin with the budget, if you take a look at these things. Just like in your household, if you don’t have the money, you don’t spend it, and you figure out how to grow revenue.
Well, here’s the thing that nobody’s telling America: After President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, revenues have been on the rise. And the Biden administration. [Treasury Secretary]Janet Yellen and other people will argue that it destroyed America.
We’re going to have $4.5 trillion of revenue this year, but another trillion dollars in deficit. No matter how much we make, we’re spending about a trillion dollars more than we make. We must stop this. And most Americans can’t even get their money. If you can’t run this country on $4.5 trillion, please get some new leaders. So the budget’s got to be first and foremost of what we do.
Blair: When we’ve spoken previously, you’ve mentioned that you have experience as a business leader. How does your business experience relate to how you would run the budget, and how would you lead the Republican Study Committee if elected?
Hern: It is not possible to learn how leadership in six months or one year. It takes a lifetime. If you truly desire to make a positive impact, then get a lifetime’s worth of experience and start your journey here.
That’s what our Founders did. They gave up their farms and their businesses to be able to spend a minute in this country. And we’ve lost that. We have so many career politicians who have never balanced any aspect of life.
I didn’t come up here for another paycheck or a job. I came here to accomplish something. I didn’t run for Senate when the Senate seat opened because I think we’re in a good spot here to make some things happen.
But if we don’t do something now, we’re going to be a real problem.
Blair: Now, one of the things that I think is interesting about what you’ve just said is that there is this really important priority that you’re placing on our finances. It’s not necessarily a topic that a lot of people think about as the federal budget. They think about their personal budgets, such as inflation, and how it affects things.
But if Republicans are to take back the house in November, do you view the budget as the first thing that they should do once they’re enacted into office?
Hern: Listen, we did last year’s budget. It was a statement that, “You can’t do this.” And we did the budget this year because we knew Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t put it on the floor. She didn’t want to see anybody balance anything because it impacted what she was trying to do.
This year, the budget’s going to come out tomorrow or this week, and we’re going to be sending a message of what the Republicans can do and the bills that need to be done to associate that.
One of the things in this budget—we used 140 member bills last year to balance the budget; this year, another 150 or so. So just right at 300 bills; legislation that’s already been written that we’ve incorporated into this budget, that if enacted would balance the budget.
As we approach the majority next fiscal year, this budget will serve as the benchmark for where we need to be with legislative policies to balance the budget.
It is what the American people want. It’s the only way we’re going to get our inflation under control without borrowing tons of money.
Blair: Now, to a lot of younger Americans who will be saddled with the debt that is being enacted right now by the government—it’s very unlikely that people who are sort of an older generation will have to deal with the consequences of this—what is the messaging that Republicans will put out to them to say, “This is why this matters to you”?
Hern: This generation is the key to prosperity. This is the prosperity of seeing, having more disposable income, so that you can afford college.
This president sets a terrible example for accountability and responsibility. This is what you should learn as a youngster to help you be a better father or mother. Teach your children from your grandmother and grandfather. As a teacher, you can teach your students what it means for them to respect this nation, the country that our soldiers went and protected around all of the world. That’s so important, to set that message out there.
You know, there’s a lot of ambiguity of what we really stand for as a federal government anymore. It’s like, “Go spend all you want, and we’ll just forgive it.” What about the people who’ve actually worked hard and paid their bills?
And so this budget describes what it’s going to take to have solvency in Social Security, solvency in Medicare; start returning our deficits to neutral to start having extra money to start paying back our debt.
Blair: I spoke to some of your staff about the inclusion of a subsection on critical-race theory in your budget.
There are two points to this one. First, what does the federal budget have do with critical race theory. Second, what budget is going to do about critical race theory in schools?
Hern: It has nothing to do critical race theory. Our budget is a budget. It does talk about things that we should be doing and shouldn’t be doing, as we spoke about earlier, and the last thing we need to be teaching our children is the moment they’re born that they’re racist.
What happened to science and math education in schools? We’re falling so far behind the rest of the world in education because we’re trying to create this “woke environment” that somehow America’s an evil place.
My argument would be to all those who want to say this, can you give us an example in the world of what we should look like? Because you don’t see people scurrying out of the United States to go there. There are 250,000 people who come to our southern border each month, just to try to get to this place the Democrats call a terrible place to be.
So it’s incredible to see what they’re saying about our great nation and they’re trying to make it worse.
And I think, when you ultimately look at it, what it is, it’s a power struggle. It’s what our Founders warned us about; that when there’s too much power centralized in Washington, D.C., there’s a lot of civil unrest. And I think it’s what we’re seeing.
The Founding Fathers spoke of a limited government because it was the only way that the people who gave us permission to exist in the federal government could have their voices heard.
We must also understand the meaning of limited government as we move forward. We’re not going to ever be a small government. … When you’re $4.5 trillion revenue, that is not small, but we can be limited in our scope.
And I think that’s exactly what the Supreme Court justices’ document said. They did not see in the Constitution that the federal government had any oversight, but the states did. This was the scope of the draft.
So we’ll see where this goes and what other things might be attributed to that same thoughtfulness.
Blair: As we begin to wrap-up, I do want to relate something to that idea of this great nation of ours, that there’s something that exists here that doesn’t exist in other places.
You have talked about previously that you grew up in poverty, and obviously, you’re here, you’re sitting with us now, you’re a politician. You could be the leader of one of the largest Republican caucuses within the house.
How does that impact your worldview? And how does that affect your budget.
Hern: I think it’s always important to note where you came from. … There’s no other nation in the world, and I’ve looked at this, that can allow somebody like me, where I came from, to be where I’m at today.
And not that being in Congress or being a public servant, a political person, is something to aspire to, but it’s the place where you can make this opportunity remain for others that come after me. And I think that’s really important.
It’s really something. It’s the only reason I keep doing this, honestly. I mean, I don’t need to be here. And I don’t mean that braggadociously; I mean, … we got a lot of great staff that we work with. I just want to make sure they have the chance that I had. They have nothing. I worked hard. I had student loans that I paid off and built my first truck. I’m sure you’ve heard the whole story.
This is a special place and I believe everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their work ethic. Hard work does matter. Honesty is important. Integrity is important. It is important to be a good citizen. And we can’t allow anybody—Republican, Democrat, or anybody—to take that away from this great nation.
Blair: That was Congressman Kevin Hern, who represents Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District. Thank you so much, Congressman.
Hern: Doug, it’s always great to be with your.
Do you have a comment about this article? Send an email to let us know your opinion. letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Make sure to include the URL of the article or the headline, as well as your name and hometown.