As a conservative, I hate when Republicans constantly punt on spending. It’s annoying, and it keeps happening. We have no reason to think it won’t keep happening.
American Majority Action opposed the House GOP leadership’s plan to suspend the debt ceiling for four months without spending cuts. We believe that the day to stop stealing from our children is today--not tomorrow, not four months from now.
However, the House passed it anyway, with 33 conservatives dissenting. Now that it’s passed, and the Senate will likely pass it, the real question becomes: Now what?
It’s important to note that outgoing Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan voted for this debt ceiling suspension. Jordan, by all intents and purposes, is the primary leader of conservatives in the House. So, why did he vote for more debt?
Because conservatives, if we keep persevering, are going to receive something HUGE in return from House GOP leadership. I suspect Jordan may have negotiated with Boehner. Jordan is no slouch, and would never, ever compromise his principles without a major victory in return.
Here’s what I believe Jordan and conservatives should expect from leadership, some of which is already public:
- The House will pass budget which balances in ten years. (Public)
- The House will use the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government to get real, undelayed spending cuts (more than just the sequester).
- The House will allow the sequester to take effect, maybe with a small amendment for defense spending.
- The House will use the May debt ceiling to force the Senate to pass a budget which balances in the next 10 years.
Speaker Boehner wants to put the pressure on Senate Democrats, which is wise. Under the just-passed deal, the Senate will be forced to pass a budget by April 15. With 12 Democrats running in races polled within 10 points--two in red-leaning states, six in dark red states--the Senate may pass a bill to the right of what President Obama wants. Senators Landrieu, Hagan, Pryor, Johnson, Begich, Shaheen, and Baucus will have a tough time selling higher spending and taxes in their states. Really tough.
But, after we get the Senate to pass a budget, it’s time to make them pass a budget we want.
During the next debt ceiling fight, it’ll be time for House Republicans to grow some courage and not be afraid to hit the debt ceiling.
Remember, what exactly happens when we hit the debt ceiling? In reality, it’s a balanced budget, stupid. When we can’t take out any new net debt, the government is forced into spending only what it takes in.
The rumors that we’d all be dead on December 21, 2012 were more valid than President Obama’s claim that the United States will default on its bonds upon hitting the debt ceiling. In the next year, the US government will take in around $2.6 trillion in revenue, according to the CBO. Servicing the debt--which prevents any defaults--costs between $220 to $250 billion dollars a year: A mere 8.5 percent of total revenues.
In fact, if we were to hit the debt ceiling and stop taking out debt altogether, we could still afford all of our “mandatory spending,” including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense, and interest payments (servicing the debt). The CBO projects these mandatory programs will cost $2.3 trillion in 2013; they project our revenue will be $2.6 trillion--leaving nearly $300 billion left for discretionary spending.
Point being, Republicans punted on the debt ceiling this time, but, to continue the football metaphor, punts don’t always result in the other side scoring. We’re going to get the ball back, but when we do, Republicans can't fall on their backsides like we have been. Republicans need to be ready to score.
And, by score, I mean being ready to stop stealing from our children’s future and balance the budget.