It’s a “three-ring circus!”
Last night President Obama went to the American people to somehow make the case that the only person that is reasonable in the debt debate is him. Somehow, over 200 House members, most Americans, and in one case Harry Reid are completely out of line when it comes to a “balanced approach” to the debt ceiling. Yet a day after he begs the public for a little support for his non-existent “balanced approach” plan Obama shows his partisan side by issuing another veto threat should Boehner’s plan pass Congress. Oh and about the whole “dangerous game” that is being played in Congress that may result in America defaulting on its debts, Obama admitted today that is not going to happen.
(Click here for a transcript of his speech.)
Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner is working to get his short-term solution through the House. This plan will increase the debt ceiling by $1 trillion at the cost of cutting $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. Then a panel will be established to come up with the second phase of budget cuts to be proposed at a later time.
Mr. Boehner’s bill would reduce future discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion, grant an immediate debt increase of $1 trillion, and set up a committee to work on trillions of dollars in future deficit reduction either through more spending cuts or tax increases, which would then earn another future debt increase. It would also require both the House and Senate to hold votes on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
The only problem with this plan is that Boehner may not have enough Republicans in the House to pass it. The sticky point with many conservatives in the House is the lack of commitment to a balanced budget amendment.
But conservative Republicans in the House, many allied to the tea party movement, said they don’t just want votes on the amendment, they want an assurance it will be sent to the states. Mr. Jordan and other conservatives said they would prefer the Senate vote on the debt increase the House passed last week, that includes deeper spending cuts and requires both chambers approve a balanced budget amendment and submit it to states for ratification before any debt increase happens.
Both the Heritage Foundation and Club for Growth, two key conservative activist groups, are also urging a “No” vote and said it will be one of the key votes they use in their annual lawmaker scorecards.
Boehner is certainly in a tough spot. I can understand his desire to call the President’s bluff and pass his proposal, which does not include any tax hikes, despite the veto threat. However, as a conservative I cannot help but to lean on the side of the weary House Republicans. Why waste such a great opportunity to ensure we do not get in this situation again? What future opportunity will Congress get that will give it more motivation to mandate that a balanced budget amendment go to the states for ratification? It has taken us to this long just to consider the idea. Force the issue. The Senate is not going to get anything passed that doesn’t first come from the House. When it comes down to the wire eventually some Democrats will cave. And then let Obama decide if he wants to take responsibility for signing the bill or vetoing it.