Weekly Columns

Cut, Cap & Balance: A Fight Toward Fiscal Responsibility in Washington

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Washington, May 18, 2011 | comments

On Monday, the United States reached the legal limit of its borrowing authority –further evidence that out-of-control spending is a matter of national security.  Serious reforms and government spending cuts need to be made to avoid severe economic disruptions – both in the short and long-term. 

The national debt and deficits are rising at an unconscionable rate. The national debt now exceeds $14 trillion, and the government is still piling up debt at the rate of $200 million an hour, $30 billion a week, $120 billion a month and $1.6 trillion a year.  It’s clear we don’t have a revenue problem – we have a spending problem.

Raising the debt ceiling without these serious reforms will only burden our future generations with outrageous debt.  Worse, the president and Senate Democrats are saying they want a “clean” debt ceiling increase, which means that they want to continue spending and borrowing more money with no strings attached.  My view is we must not raise the debt ceiling by $1 without simultaneously making deep cuts in spending and taking real steps towards a balanced budget. 

It is imperative to the future of the country that we fight for an immediate shift toward fiscal responsibility. That is why I, along with my colleagues in the Republican Study Committee (RSC), wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking him to “Cut, Cap and Balance”. Specifically, we advocated for discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year; enacting statutory, enforceable total-spending caps to reduce federal spending to 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment (BBA) with strong protections against federal tax increases and including a Spending Limitation Amendment (SLA).  This proposal will put us on a path to prosperity, and I will work to see provisions like this are included in any final agreement.

I believe it is prudent to limit the extension of borrowing authority as much as possible, in order to demand accountability from Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration. Every day, we see more and more evidence of the need to confront the problem now.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released in April adds urgency to the need for meaningful actions — both short and long-term — to confront the nation's debt head-on.  Additionally, Moody's Analytics released a report several weeks ago forecasting a downgrade in our country’s bond rating.  It’s clear that if we fail to stop the spending spree, our nation will face economic collapse in the long-term. 

House Speaker John Boehner was recently quoted saying: “There will be no debt limit increase without serious budget reforms and significant spending cuts – cuts that are greater than any increase in the debt limit.”  I agree.   Everything must be on the table when it comes to spending cuts because this problem is too big to solve with cuts to a few programs.  We are sure to meet economic catastrophe if we do not get our debt under control by enacting enforceable spending cuts.  

With each passing day our nation’s fiscal health gets worse, leaving our children and grandchildren falling farther into debt.  The Democrats have given up, saying that the only answer to excessive borrowing is more borrowing.  Therefore, it is imperative that we move quickly and unite behind a plan to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington.

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