In a vote that 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 to pass this common sense plan.
The bill negates any short-term concerns held by bond-investors by agreeing to a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt limit, while also reassuring skittish markets about our commitment to getting our deficits under control through immediate spending cuts and longer-term budget-process reforms. Among those reforms, the bill would impose a graduated system of spending caps to incrementally reduce federal expenditures back to more sustainable levels. Inarguably, the bill’s primary contribution to improving the nation’s untenable fiscal course is a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution which would require Washington to finally, and permanently, square its finances.
Now, it is up to the Democrat-led Senate to act. Sadly, it appears they are oblivious to the fact that the House just laid a concrete plan to raise the debt limit at their feet. As reported by The Hill,
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday claimed his chamber has a "path forward" for raising the debt ceiling but said he's waiting on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to tell him what can pass the House.
“I'm at a point where I'm saying we need to hear from the House of Representatives,” Reid said from the Senate floor. “We have a plan to go forward over here. But until we hear from the House of Representatives, really our, all of our work here would be for naught.”
Reid must have gotten it confused. House Republicans are the ones who have offered the path forward, Senate Democrats are the ones cobbling together a plan comprised of a list of bullet points, which by their own admission is “not ready for prime time.”
Of course, we’ve seen this behavior from the Senate before. In April the House passed a budget that provided a comprehensive fiscal plan to put America on a path toward balance while addressing many of the long-term drivers of our spending 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 the Senate adopted a budget.
Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the Republican Study Committee, hopes the Senate doesn’t follow the same M.O. in the debate over the debt limit. “In case Senator Reid didn’t notice, a bipartisan ‘Gang of 234’ just sent him the way forward. It’s called the Cut, Cap and Balance Act,” said Rep. Jordan. “This is the only plan that can fundamentally solve our debt problem, and it is waiting for Senator Reid to bring up on the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote.”
Cut, Cap and Balance is the only comprehensive solution to Washington’s spending problem that is on the table. In fact, it is the only solution on the table, period. So when President Obama said yesterday that “we don’t have any more time to posture. It’s time to get down to the business of solving this problem,” we couldn’t agree more. That is why NTU, as part of a coalition of conservative groups, has gotten down to business, made some hard decisions, and even some difficult compromises in order to achieve passage as soon as possible.
The House has marked a path out of debt and paved the way toward a return to prosperity; it is now up to Senate Democrats to walk it.