(Senator Dean Heller) – George Washington once remarked in a letter to a friend and fellow founder of our great nation that, “A people who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and will pursue their advantages, may achieve almost anything.”
Our first president and the incredible individuals who helped shape the American experience placed a high premium on sacrifice and hard work. They recognized the unparalleled advantages that liberty and enterprise offered and sought to build a nation on those principles. They didn’t quit when the going was rough, and they didn’t take shortcuts along the way.
Sadly, Washington, D.C. has lost touch with the values that inspired the early leaders of our nation. Congress has reached a shameful milestone, having gone more than one thousand days without passing a budget. Instead, Congress has relied on temporary spending measures and continuing resolutions, which are essentially shortcuts around tough decisions. Today Washington is less concerned with the right thing to do, and more concerned with the easy thing to do.
Our founders realized there are no shortcuts to success. Eventually shortcuts lead to dead ends.
I was recently in Las Vegas to celebrate the achievements of a few extraordinary Nevadans who have personally exemplified sacrifice and hard work in pursuit of their American dream. At the Americans for Prosperity “Nevadan by Choice” Awards dinner, I joined in honoring two men who have spent their lives overcoming adversity, persevering through hardship, and achieving great things.
Mr. Leonardo Alcantar Iglesias immigrated to this country from Mexico, worked hard in the automotive industry, and raised a family. Despite setbacks and challenging circumstances, Leonardo blazed a trail of success, making no excuses and taking no shortcuts. He said that, other than his marriage to his wife of nearly forty years, becoming an American citizen was one of the most important events of his life.
I was also proud to honor Mr. Juan José Reyes, who suffered a serious workplace injury that left him without vision. Juan didn’t give up. He found work and he raised his three children, one of whom currently serves in the National Guard. He was determined to take the necessary steps to reach his goals, and he let nothing stand in his way. In October of last year, Juan became a proud American citizen.
Juan and Leonardo demonstrate that the values that guided our founders are still inspiring Americans today. They understand that success does not always come easy, and they face challenges directly instead of taking shortcuts around them.
Despite the absence of a federal budget for almost three years, the Majority Party in the Senate has already announced that there will be no budget this year. Why? Because politically, it’s too difficult.
In an attempt to hold Congress accountable, I introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act in the U.S. Senate. This bill requires Congress to pass a concurrent budget resolution by the beginning of any fiscal year. Furthermore, this bill restricts Members of Congress from being paid retroactively for any lapse of time when a budget has not been passed. The No Budget, No Pay Act is a first step towards fundamentally changing the way Washington does business and force Congress to make tough decisions.
The American people are rightly frustrated with the way Washington conducts itself. Nevadans can’t afford to take the easy way out in their personal lives. Our home state doesn’t have a shortcut around the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country. Nevadans are forced to make tough decisions every day, and I know they are frustrated with how out of touch Washington is with the challenges they’re facing.
Make no mistake, I believe that our country’s best days are still ahead. I am intent on working hard for a better future for our children and grandchildren. But there are no shortcuts to a prosperous future. And it’s time for Washington to focus on making the right decisions for the American people, and not just the easy ones.