WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: Demonstrators march on Capitol Hill to occupy the offices of their members of Congress during the "Take Back the Capitol" protest December 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators from 46 states have set up on the National Mall and will stage demonstrations all week, including occupying the offices of their senators and representatives until they agree to meet with them and talk about jobs, the economy and other issues. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rep. Joe Walsh(Tea Party-Ill.) is one of eight congressmen who signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, requesting that their surplus office allocation be sent back to the Treasury, to pay down the national debt.
Calling it a “Gift to Reduce the Debt Held by the Public,” the congressmen told Boehner they “have accumulated more than $1.4 million in unused personal office funding; we believe this funding must be used immediately to address the fiscal emergency caused by our ever increasing national debt. Furthermore, this accumulation is proof that fiscal responsibility is not just something we talk about in press releases but is a personal mission of ours.”
The letter was also signed by Jeff Landry of Lousiana.; Raul Labrador of Idaho; Jeff Duncan of South Carolina; Tim Huelskamp of Kansas; Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina; Steve Southerland of Florida; and Kevin Yoder of Kansas. Like Walsh, they’re all Tea Party-affiliated Republicans.
Said Walsh in a statement:
Since day one, I promised to fight for lower taxes, less spending, and a balanced budget The national debt has spiraled out of control and is now nearly the size of the entire U.S. economy. Americans have seen big government policies try to fix this problem, but big government is the problem. The place to start is at home, which is why I am giving back almost $200,000 in taxpayer funds that must be used to pay down the debt.
One of my first votes as a member of Congress was to cut Congressional budgets by 5 percent. While that was a good start, I did not think that cut went far enough so I am giving almost 15 percent of my entire budget back to pay down the national debt. Every day we ask that the American people tighten their belt and it is time that we do the same. This is not our money, it’s the American taxpayer’s money and that is why I am proud to do my part in returning these funds.
According to the Tea Partiers’ own letter, the unused money would have gone back to the Treasury anyway, but only after “languish[ing]” for two years in a shared fund. So they’re just trying to speed up the schedule. Still, kudos to these guys for spending less money than they’ve been allotted.