Liberals from Capitol Hill to the cable networks keep insisting that the nation will go into default unless Congress raises the nation’s debt ceiling by August 2. All along we have felt that such a claim is at least technically wrong, seeing that unquestionably we will be able to make interest payments on our bonds. More confounding, however, is that the ones yelling the loudest that the debt limit must be raised also keep insisting that a vote tomorrow in the House of Representatives to raise the debt limit is “an empty and symbolic gesture.”
How do we get there from here?
The vote will be on the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, and liberals don’t like it because it cuts federal spending immediately, places a statutory cap on federal spending, and requires passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would then be sent to the individual states for ratification. Passage of such an act would pave the way for raising the debt ceiling, which is politically unpalatable to Republicans and Democrats.
Our sister advocacy organization, Heritage Action for America, announced today that it supports as a step in the right direction the Cap, Cut and Balance amendment to be voted on tomorrow in the House. Heritage Action seeks to drive down federal spending and borrowing while protecting America and not raising taxes.
President Obama, who has threatened to veto Cut, Cap and Balance, and his supporters keep repeating the talking point that “we do not need a constitutional amendment to do our job” and calling it “unnecessary.”
Let’s just remind everybody that today marks the 810th day since the U.S. Senate last passed a budget, balanced or unbalanced, and this debate is taking place in the context of a $14 trillion-and-growing debt. Hardly the picture of responsible and balanced governance. Choosing to Tax, Spend and Waste is not an option.
The Senate can amend Cut, Cap and Balance as it sees fit and pass it back to the House if it wants to. Dismissing it offhand as an empty, dead-on-arrival act belies the urgency of the debt ceiling rhetoric.
In a divided government, legislators cannot wait until the media declares consensus to hold votes. One chamber has proposed and passed a budget this year – The House. That same chamber should now lead the charge to reform government spending and responsibly raise the debt ceiling. Waiting until there are no options left but bad ones would be even more symbolic of a broken government.
You can follow Mike Gonzalez on Twitter @Gundisalvus