Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The leverage of Cut, Cap and Balance (UPDATE)

I think Ed Morrissey of Hot Air summed up the passage of the House GOP’s Cut, Cap & Balance Act quite thoroughly, pointing to the near-party-line vote (234-190), calling Obama’s bluff and setting a stark contrast to the backroom deals of Senate negotiations. The passage of this bill did not go without a few mentionable dissentions, particularly two of the House GOP’s presidential contenders, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, who, as with most of the other dissenters, either didn’t believe the legislation went far enough in cutting spending, or, as with Paul Broun of Georgia voiced, were opposed to any deal that raised the debt ceiling. Nevertheless, the point of leverage was made by Pat Toomey’s emailed ‘applause’:

“Today, my House colleagues have shown a willingness to raise the debt limit, but only if the president puts us on a path to a balanced budget. I applaud the House’s passage of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act and hope that the Senate will send this bill to the president’s desk,” Sen. Toomey said. “I find it hard to believe that the president would be so opposed to a path to a balanced federal budget that he would veto this legislation and reject the debt ceiling increase he claims is absolutely vital for the country.”

Paul Ryan reinforced the sentiment stating, “The House of Representatives continues to advance serious solutions to get our budget on the path to balance and our economy on the path to prosperity. The Cut, Cap and Balance legislation passed today cuts $5.8 trillion in spending over the next decade, locks in those savings with enforceable caps on spending, and forces Washington to finally live within its means with a Balanced Budget Amendment.”

But Morrissey’s conclusion is where he nails the point:

Either way, Republicans have now passed their second bill this session that attempts to address the exploding deficits and the debt crisis, the first being Paul Ryan’s budget plan in April. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate haven’t bothered to pass any budget resolution in over 800 days, and the White House still refuses to offer any specific ideas.

And beside the obvious question of ‘where’s the Democrat proposals’, it begs the question, why is the pressure on Republicans to produce a plan in the Administration-imposed 11th hour debt limit decision? We know of the Obama Administration’s “never let a crisis go to waste” philosophy, but if it’s truly going to be left up to the GOP, then they should coalesce behind a singular plan, instead of creating opportunities in the Senate with the McConnell and Gang of Six plans to assist Democrats in undermining the responsible effort to cut spending and balance the budget, much less raising the debt ceiling, which is in reality a separate issue that has been tied into this debt debate. And Levin made the point on Monday, “Why are we negotiating with these people, and why are we coming up with plans? Do they act like they’re as concerned about August 2nd as these Republicans? No, they don’t.” Mark went on to ask, “Why should we encourage and embrace our own destruction,” pointing to the McConnell plan and the ‘half-hearted measures’, like Tuesday’s Gang of Six proposal, that seek the approval of the statists who have driven us to the precipice.

We’ll track how it goes from here. One thing’s for certain: if the Senate Repubic ‘leaders’ wouldn't have caved so soon by providing alternative plans and ammunition for Democrat Senators, the assuredness of the DOA status of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act wouldn’t be cemented as claimed. And yet even with the undermining, there still remains life within this bill. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the sponsor of the Act, remains optimistic following its passage, particularly in his Greta van Susteren interview last night, as he should, and there are rumblings that Reid may actually allow a vote of the Act on the Senate floor in exchange for his part in the negotiations of these latest Senate plans…we’ll see.

All we’re asking for is to reduce our spending, pay off our debts, and balance our budget…

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL) called into The Mark Levin Show, informing him that there should be a vote on the House bill this coming Saturday!  ABC confirms that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a vote on the Cut, Cap & Balance Act will take place in a Saturday morning session.  Here we go...

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