Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today said that the new bipartisan focus on debt reduction is “a critical development in ensuring continued economic success.”

Smith noted, “President Clinton strongly emphasized fiscal discipline and paying down the debt in last night’s State of the Union Address, and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were very supportive.”

Debt reduction and fiscal discipline have been longtime priorities for Smith. He authored the Honesty in Budgeting Act, which requires the government to stop counting Social Security surpluses as income in the federal budget.

“The Honesty in Budgeting Act was just one of the factors that led to this new bipartisan focus on debt reduction,” said Smith. “Now almost everyone, from the Republican leadership to President Clinton, is committed to balancing the budget without using Social Security and paying down the national debt.”

Smith acknowledges that supporting debt reduction and actually voting to make it happen are two separate things. “With budget surpluses, there will be a lot of temptation to use that money either for tax cuts or spending increases,” he warned. “While I think we can make some additional investments and cut some taxes this year, I will be diligent in ensuring that fiscal discipline is our overriding goal so that we can pay down the debt, leading to lower interest rates and fewer tax dollars being wasted on debt service costs.”