Tonight I voted to prevent a default by cutting spending, implementing budget controls and increasing fiscal accountability. With passage of the Budget Control Act the House has twice-passed such legislation while the President and Senate have failed to offer a plan of their own.
With the current gridlock, this is the last best chance we have to avoid default while cutting spending, modifying entitlements and preventing a job-killing tax increase. My first choice remains Cut, Cap and Balance. Unfortunately, Harry Reid and the Senate have refused to even vote on it. If the House proposal fails, I am concerned we will be left with the Obama-Reid plan of scaring seniors and veterans into panic in an attempt to force Congress to provide the President with a blank check.
If enacted, the Budget Control Act would cut and cap spending by $917 billion over 10 years, with $22 billion cut in the first year alone, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. It would also require Congress to draft proposals to produce at least $1.8 trillion in additional savings from entitlement reform to help protect programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy.
Key to my support was the inclusion of a requirement that both the House and Senate pass a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Only after the amendment is sent to the states for consideration and entitlement reforms are enacted could the President request a second increase in the debt limit.
Although he has offered no plan of his own, President Obama has asked for a debt ceiling increase with no strings attached and which would prevent the matter from coming up again until after his reelection campaign. For me, that is a bridge too far given the President's economic and fiscal history.
This President has run up the tab $3.5 trillion in just two-and-a-half years. His economic policies have given us 10 percent unemployment and a national debt that is 97 percent of the GDP. Now he is pretending to be a fiscal conservative.
We do not want American to default, we do not want our credit downgraded, and we do not want our economy to further deteriorate. If we continue the Obama spending spree, it will drive this country off a cliff. We need to stay here and do what it takes to get the job done but we cannot afford to give this President a blank check.