Although he has issued no plan of his own, President Barack Obama has indicated he will veto the only plan set forth to avert a default by tying an increase in the statutory debt limit to fiscal austerity measures.
The proposal which has drawn the President's ire, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011 will be voted on this week by the House of Representatives. It would cut spending immediately, cap spending as a percentage of the economy, and require a balanced budget amendment before increasing the debt limit.
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), a leading fiscal conservative who introduced his own plan to limit spending earlier this year, called on the President to abandon his veto threat unless he is prepared to offer his own plan.
"While the country is looking for leadership, the President stands behind his podium saying what he will not accept," said Kingston. "To date, only the House has passed a budget and now only the House has offered a plan to responsibly increase the debt limit. If the President does not intend to offer his own plan, he should drop this threat and work with us. Day after day, he and his advisors warn of what will happen if we default yet not once have those warnings been accompanied by a legitimate proposal for it to be avoided."
The President has said that a balanced budget amendment is not necessary to restore fiscal responsibility. Conservatives like Kingston, however, point to the fact that the President has increased the national debt by $3.7 trillion in his two and a half years in office. That is $200 billion more than was accumulated under all eight years under President George W. Bush.
Kingston has vowed to oppose any increase in the debt limit without reforms that change the country's fiscal trajectory. To that end, he introduced legislation earlier this year to limit total federal spending as a percentage of the economy. His plan would begin making cuts today and balance the budget and begin paying down the national debt in five years.
"I hope the President will remember his refusal to vote for an increase in the debt limit when he was in the Senate and accused President Bush of a lack of leadership," Kingston said. "Now is President Obama's chance to show his leadership."