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In Debt Limit Debate the House Has Established the "Path Forward," Will Dem-Led Senate Walk It?

by Brandon Greife / /

In a votethat should hearten all conservatives, the Republican-led House passed the “Cut,Cap and Balance Act” on Tuesday night. Much to their credit, five Democrats(Boren, Cooper, Matheson, McIntyre and Schuler) joined with the majority topass this common sense plan.

The bill negatesany short-term concerns held by bond-investors by agreeing toa $2.4 trillion increase to the debt limit, while also reassuring skittishmarkets about our commitment to getting our deficits under control throughimmediate spending cuts and longer-term budget-process reforms. Among thosereforms, the bill would impose a graduated system of spending caps toincrementally reduce federal expenditures back to more sustainable levels. Inarguably,the bill’s primary contribution to improving the nation’s untenable fiscalcourse is a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution which wouldrequire Washington to finally, and permanently, square its finances.

Now, it is up to the Democrat-led Senateto act. Sadly, it appears they are oblivious to the fact that the House justlaid a concrete plan to raise the debt limit at their feet. As reported by TheHill,

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday claimedhis chamber has a "path forward" for raising the debt ceiling butsaid he's waiting on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to tell him what can passthe House. 

“I'm at a point where I'm saying we need to hear from the House ofRepresentatives,” Reid said from the Senate floor. “We have a plan to goforward over here. But until we hear from the House of Representatives, reallyour, all of our work here would be for naught.”

Reid must have gotten it confused. House Republicans are the ones who have offeredthe path forward, Senate Democrats are the ones cobbling together a plan comprised of alist of bulletpoints, which by their own admissionis “not ready for prime time.”

Of course, we’ve seen this behavior from the Senate before. In Aprilthe House passed a budget that provided a comprehensive fiscal plan to put Americaon a path toward balance while addressing many of the long-term drivers of ourspending problem. But despite their legal obligation to pass a budget, the Senate hasn’t even proposed one. In fact, it has been more than 800 days since theSenate adopted a budget.

Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the Republican Study Committee, hopesthe Senate doesn’t follow the same M.O. in the debate over the debt limit. “Incase Senator Reid didn’t notice, a bipartisan ‘Gang of 234’ just sent him theway forward. It’s called the Cut, Cap and Balance Act,” said Rep. Jordan. “Thisis the only plan that can fundamentally solve our debt problem, and it iswaiting for Senator Reid to bring up on the Senate floor for an up-or-downvote.”

Cut, Cap and Balance is the only comprehensive solution toWashington’s spending problem that is on the table. In fact, it is the onlysolution on the table, period. So when President Obama saidyesterday that “we don’t have any more time to posture. It’s time to get downto the business of solving this problem,” we couldn’t agree more. That is whyNTU, as part of a coalition of conservative groups, has gotten down tobusiness, made some hard decisions, and even some difficult compromises inorder to achieve passage as soon as possible.

The House has marked a path out of debt and paved the way toward areturn to prosperity; it is now up to Senate Democrats to walk it.