07.22.2011 1

Gang of Six Member urges passage of Cut, Cap and Balance bill

By Rick Manning – “[T]he fact is you can’t solve our problem unless you do what ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ wants to do. So, it doesn’t matter what the polls are. We’ve got to fix our country, and this is the only viable plan right now that will do that, and I will bet you a Porterhouse steak if it lands on his desk, he [President Obama] will sign this puppy,” Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

This statement by Senator Coburn sets the stage for a vote in the Senate on the House passed Cut, Cap and Balance legislation that would raise the debt ceiling only if the immediate budget cuts go into place, caps on future spending are enacted, and a balanced budget amendment passes both the House and Senate.

Coburn’s comments are all the more significant as he has made news over the past few days as one of the infamous “Gang of Six” who conjured up a budget plan which Investors Business Daily says will increase taxes by more than $3 trillion in the next ten years — a recipe for economic disaster rather than a solution to our nation’s fiscal woes.

So when Senator Coburn states that the House passed Cut, Cap and Balance legislation “is the only viable plan” his colleagues in the Senate would be well served to listen and follow his lead.
For many, the ongoing budget battles between Obama and the Republicans are mind numbing. Many ask the obvious question, why can’t they just figure it out and get something done?

The answer is simple.

The path that President Obama and the Senate Democrats are trying to take guarantees that the U.S. credit will be downgraded, interest payments on the federal debt will increase and states, cities and school districts will face massive increases in the cost of borrowing.

That is not just political rhetoric. That is what the credit rating services are telling the world.
Any deficit reduction plan must reduce the deficit by at least $4 trillion over ten years in order to avert a downgrade of the nation’s Triple-A credit rating by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.

The catastrophic impact of higher debt service costs for already cash strapped cities and states can be seen by the reaction of someGovernors who have expressed concern about the need to raise the debt ceiling.

However what House Republicans and many in the Senate know is that simply passing a debt ceiling increase without substantive spending cuts will in fact result in the exact outcome that the Governors fear.

Incredibly, lost in the rhetorical fog about “raising the debt ceiling” is the unassailable fact that our nation cannot continue to spend $1.5 trillion more than we take in each year, and S&P and others are doing nothing more than pointing out that failure to take immediate action to stop our spending binge can only result in our debt becoming more and more risky.

The House Republican Cut, Cap and Balance plan only cuts $111 billion in spending in 2012 — less than 7 percent of the projected budget deficit for this year. Yet, to hear the President and his allies tell it, you would think that the Republicans are making radical changes.

If we, as a nation, cannot cut $111 billion out of a budget that has grown from $2.8 trillion in Fiscal Year 2007 to an estimated 3.81 trillion in Fiscal Year 2011, then Moody’s and S&P will be right to downgrade our credit worthiness.

Ultimately, there is only one responsible approach being discussed to the credit rating downgrade crisis in Washington, D.C. and that is the modest attempt by House Republicans to cut, cap and balance the budget.

The good news is that no matter what happens in the Senate related to the legislation in the short term, if the House Republicans and their Senate colleagues stick to their guns, eventually the Administration and their Senate consigliore’s will be forced to reconsider the only adult response to the crisis.

Not to mention, the only response that has actually passed through one body of Congress.
The House has done their job. Let’s hope the Senate has the good sense to do theirs. If not, history will judge the Senate as having fallen short to do what is necessary to keep this country great.

ALG Editor’s Note: Senator Tom Coburn is the Chairman Emeritus of Americans for Limited Government. ALG strongly opposes the Gang of Six proposal.

Rick Manning is the Communications Director of Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RManning957.

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