Memo to House GOP: No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Spending Cuts

By:  Bob Adelmann
Memo to House GOP: No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Spending Cuts

The Conservative Action Project issued a memo to GOP leaders to stand firm on the debt ceiling issue and demand that the White House agree to spending cuts first. That strategy is likely to have as much success as the last debt ceiling confrontation did in 2011: None.

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, sent a “Memo for the Movementto House GOP leaders meeting in Williamsburg, urging them not to raise the debt ceiling unless cuts in government spending were included. More than 100 conservative leaders signed the memo, including Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, and Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity.

It took just 518 days for deficit spending to reach the debt ceiling which was raised in the summer of 2011 midst acrimony and disagreement. That debt ceiling crisis was triggered in May, 2011, when the House voted down a “clean” debt ceiling bill — one without conditions — by a vote of 318 to 97. The Republicans wanted to use the debt ceiling issue as leverage to get the Obama administration to agree to spending cuts on entitlements (and no increases in taxes) to reduce the deficit and begin to address the long term issue of the country’s accelerating national debt. After two months of wrangling, a last-minute deal was reached and the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) was signed into law on August 2.

In simple terms, the BCA raised the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion in exchange for promised future cuts in spending. A “super committee” was set up which failed to come to any agreement on how to do it, and “sequestration” — budget cuts in military and non-defense spending — was put in place to take effect on January 1, 2013. This was part of the “fiscal cliff” which was just resolved with some tax increases and more promises of future spending cuts while the sequestration was delayed two months.

The memo correctly noted that the root of the government’s problem is excessive spending that exceeds revenues, but puts the blame on Democrats and the Obama administration:

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