Taxpayers for Common Sense statement on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction bills.
It’s past time for Congress to do its job and raise the debt ceiling. Since they were sworn in, lawmakers knew they had to do this but political grandstanding has gotten in the way. These exact same lawmakers approved the spending that would be cut off if the debt limit isn’t raised. The bill funding the federal government through September 30th was passed in April, and it would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility to risk our nation’s AAA credit rating by canceling those checks.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attach strings to the debt limit increase. We should have significant cuts up front and a plan to develop further cuts down the road. It’s pretty clear that the House will pass Speaker Boehner’s proposal and the Senate will reject it. The likely result will be a hybrid between Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid’s approaches which is probably the best possible outcome at this late hour. The increased level of cuts in Sen. Reid’s proposal make sense. At the same time, Rep. Boehner’s two tier approach that increased the debt ceiling enough to get through 2011, but ties a second increase to enacting the deficit reduction proposal that emerges from a joint committee, could reassure markets that Congress is going to adopt further budget reforms.
The House and Senate leadership need to hammer out the compromise and send it to the President to be signed no later than Monday. Then they’ve got to get to work figuring out how to get the country out of the deep fiscal hole that Washington has dug.
Lawmakers in both parties on both sides of the Capitol can rage all they want about deficits and debt ceilings, but the simple fact is they have nearly complete control over the budget, and if they simply did the job they were elected to do, we won’t have any need for special committees, debt ceiling debates, and the endless partisan sniping that goes along with it.
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