That was Florida Congressman Allan West’s tweet today on Twitter.
I find myself always appreciating the 140 or less character comments that Rep. West leaves on Twitter. They are short but powerful, sharp but honest, and unlike some of the innocuous statements that many of his congressional colleagues often leave on Twitter, West’s twitter feed expresses honest emotions that I sympathize with. In the banner of this blog, is a quote from British politician R.A. Butler which states “Politics is largely a matter of heart”. I believe that. While our legilsation must be based on law and not emotion, I find that one’s heart must be true to the cause they undertake in politics, for without the passion that comes with such truth, other temptations can achieve the worst results. I believe that Allan West’s heart is really in the game and I appreciate his passion. In the case of his recent Twitter comment, Congressman West demonstrated a sarcastic but frank assessment of the all consuming budget ceiling debate.
He suggests that if leading liberals like President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose Speaker Boehner’s approach to the debate over raising the budget ceiling, than it must be good.
The left represents a continuation of the same tax and spend policies that have gotten us into this mess. Not that Republicans haven’t helped. They have.
In the past, while many Republicans held firmly in favor of tax cuts and against tax hikes, they have not exhibited the same type of vigilance against spending. But in 2006, and again in 2008 Republicans paid a price for their lack of fiscal responsibility. First they lost control of the House and then they also lost control of the Senate and the White House. But in 2010, with the aide of conservatives who were more concerned with policy than politics, and a TEA Party movement that held conservatives accountable, a new crop of Republicans helped take back control of the House. These new Republicans, of which Allan West is one of, accept the fact that a reform agenda must take hold in Washington, D.C. It is an agenda that must reform the way Washington, D.C. does business, how it spends our money, and reforms the entitlement programs that will soon become the largest part of our ever growing national debt.
That is why, while in the past, there was little to no debate over raising the debt ceiling today it is a debate that is front and center. In the past Democrats, including President Obama when he was in the Senate, voted against raising the debt ceiling when we had a Republican President. And Republicans voted against doing the same when we had a Democrat President. Each Party played politics with the issue and participated in a blame game that allowed the Party out of power to claim that the Party in power supports a larger national debt.
This time though, the new crop of Republican figures who make up the balance of power in the House, are not willing to play politics. These new members are dead serious about doing exactly what they said they would and what voters elected them to do. As a result, the same old sleights of hand that allowed politicians to avoid making the hard decision and to avoid dealing with what creates our debt, are not being tolerated. This time around, the new, true Republicans in the House are holding the Party leadership’s feet to the fire. That accountability has forced Speaker Boehner to hold firm on a plan which offers spending cuts that are greater than the debt hike……… the chief goal of new era Republicans.
According to the Congressional Budget Office in a report released early this evening, the House Republican proposal will:
- Cut and cap spending by $917 billion over 10 years – that’s more than the $900 billion debt hike;
- Cut $22 billion in spending for FY2012
- and hold spending below FY2010 levels until FY2016;
- Continue reducing discretionary spending each year compared to President Obama’s budget (by $96 billion in 2012, $118 billion in 2013, $115 billion in 2014, $117 billion in 2015, and so on); and
- Require Congress to draft proposals that produce reductions of at least $1.8 trillion that help protect programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy.
To this, Senate Democrats and President Obama say no. They instead want Republicans to go along with a plan that is filled with gimmicks and which the Congressional Budget Office verifies will increase the debt limit by more than it cuts spending while also imposing “caps” that actually increase spending. The CBO report also suggests that the Democrat backed plan is a collection of gimmicks and “mostly fake” cuts.
The discoveries in the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the liberal plan find that “savings from the Democratic plan come in at $500 billion less than advertised, lowering the deficit by $2.2 trillion while giving the president an up-front debt limit increase of $2.7 trillion. It also reveals that of the $2.2 trillion, more than $1 trillion comes from “saving” money that wasn’t going to be spent anyway on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rest comes from slashing defense spending in a way that would hurt our men and women in uniform, and from what the Wall Street Journal calls “mostly fake spending cuts like less government ‘waste, fraud and abuse’”.
Additionally, the report suggests that the liberal sponsored debt ceiling bill imposes what they call “program integrity” caps that actually spend $18 billion more than they save.
Neither the Republican nor the Democrat plan solves the problem to our mounting debt. That is not something which can really be solved in a debate over the debt ceiling alone. It is a problem which requires a national debate over the federal government’s role in our lives. However; unlike the Obama Reid, Pelosi plan, the G.O.P. plan actually cuts more than the President wants us to spend with another raise in the debt ceiling. While that is in truth, only a drop in the bucket, it is still steering us in the right direction. Whereas the Democrat plan simply amounts to another spend-more-than-we-have act that simply exacerbates a debt problem which a former Secretary of Defense considered so severe that it is a national security issue.
In 2010 one of the key reasons Republicans were elected was based upon a promise to reduce our deficit. In 2008 President Obama was also elected in part based upon his promise to “get serious” about reducing debt.
Now in 2011, the question is, who is trying to keep their promise to the voters?
The answer is pretty clear. The people with a plan that proposes to cut more than we want to spend on increased debt are adhering to the mandate given to them. Those people are the House Republicans like Allan Wes,t who are not leaving any room for politicians to hide from the need to finally confront our debt crisis. And so, under these circumstances, it is time for Democrats to stop telling the American people one thing and banks another. It is time for them to stop lying to, and scaring, senior citizens about their Social Security benefits and checks. It’s time for Democrats to either agree to less spending as opposed to more debt and say yes to the Republican plan which does just that. If they don’t, who will really be the Party of “no”?