As debt talks ramp up, spending cuts not enough for some Republican senators

Conservative senators feel that the only thing worse than raising the debt limit is raising the debt limit without significant changes to the way Congress does business.

Even after the White House floated cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for tax increases, Republican senators introduced a bill that puts the Cut, Cap, Balance pledge into legislative language. The group of senators want to push for a vote on the bill before the August 2 deadline on the debt ceiling.

Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Roy Blunt of Missouri, David Vitter of Louisiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, all introduced the Cut, Cap, Balance Act of 2011 at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

“To me, this is akin to having a cousin who has a huge credit card problem and he says, ‘Don’t worry, I have a solution. I need you to come down to the bank with me to get a higher limit or to get an 8th credit card,’” said Vitter, referring to the budget dilemma. “Well, that’s not the solution. The solution is doing something meaningful about the underlying spending and borrowing problem.”

“None of us wants to raise the debt ceiling,” Paul said. “None of us thinks it’s a good idea to spend money we don’t have … but we also think there would be some circumstances under which we would borrow more money.”

“We have to have a binding plan saying we will do things differently,” Paul added. (Social Security becomes a pawn in debt talks)

The bill, which currently has 21 co-sponsors, seeks to cut spending by $142 billion, cap spending in six different categories (non-defense discretionary, defense, social security, mandatory veterans, Medicare, “other” mandatory spending), and require the passage of the balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling can be raised.

The move came the same day leaders from both parties met with the president at the White House to negotiate a deal on the debt limit increase. At a brief press conference after the meeting, Obama said that talks were “frank” and “very constructive,” but that both parties remain divided on a “wide variety of issues.”

Obama also told lawmakers Thursday that he will not sign a deal that does not extend the debt limit beyond the 2012 elections, and he gave Republican and Democrat lawmakers three options for a deal.

According to Roll Call, the three different packages range from deals that would be worth $2 trillion in savings, $3 trillion — the original number pushed by Vice President Biden — or $4 trillion. Obama has made it clear he favors the more ambitious package of cutting $4 trillion, which puts cuts to Medicare and Social Security on the table.

It’s that spirit of compromise, however, that has conservative lawmakers pushing to tie the debt limit vote to the Cut, Cap, Balance Act, and more specifically, a balanced budget amendment.

That’s the only way, say some lawmakers, to bind future Congresses to cut spending and balance the budget. (GOP senators move to prevent executive order on debt limit)

But while some may view the push for a constitutional amendment as nothing more than a stubborn, political move, the feeling among conservative senators, at least, is that after the disastrous Continuing Resolution deal in the spring, they have good reason not to back down.

“We didn’t know details of the deal and it was pushed and pushed and pushed, then they came out with an 11th hour deal,” one GOP source on the Hill told The Daily Caller.

This time, a budget deal needs to include spending cuts and caps that won’t be ignored after five years, said the source. “There’s got to be something else.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will put a balanced budget amendment on the legislative calendar, though he has not signed on as a co-sponsor to the Cut, Cap, Balance Act.

McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have been tight-lipped about the status of negotiations. Boehner spoke to the Steering Committee after the meeting at the White House, but one senator who was in attendance declined to comment on what was said.

Blunt said that the speaker was “optimistic” in a meeting he had with Boehner and added that with another meeting scheduled for this Sunday, a deal could be announced sooner rather than later.

“There is substantial belief that whatever is going to happen is likely to happen in the next few days,” said Blunt. “They are working hard to make something happen, but nothing’s happened yet. There’s no deal yet; nobody knows what the deal is.”

“I think if they do get there they’ll get there pretty quickly or they won’t get there,” Blunt added.

  • jonathan galt

    How many congressional democrats went ahead and paid 4.5 % more taxes last year. Because, as Biden said ” it is the patriotic thing to do”? My guess is none. My guess is Obama did not pay a cent extra and will not when he jumps into his post presidency cash cow next year. Think Michael Moore, al gore, james carville, soros etc gave a cent extra to the government. Not a chance. Yet progressives in congress call for us to do so. They can do so whenever they wish. Their are many more multi millionaire democrats in congress than republicans. If it is the right thing to do, have they? How many tax cheats did Obama nominate?

    Then look at charitable giving of conservatives and it out flanks liberals by 11.2%. I bet if you took put environmental giving the disparity would be even greater.

    Call for all democrats asking for tax increases to show where they gave the increase amount last April. If they all did, then I’m fine with it. Bet they did not lead by example.

  • CrazyHungarian

    Politicians of both parties have repeatedly shown us that they are incredibly irresponsible with our money. They seem to think that their main job is to spend, spend, spend instead of protecting our citizens and our country. They spend money in the short term to literally buy votes but leave us with spending obligations long after their individual terms and careers are finished. The only way to rein in this spending addiction is to put a firm limit on spending into the Constitution as a Balanced Budget Amendment. Until that is done, Congress will forever spend, raise debt limit, and do it all again. The BBA is our only chance to slow this down and any Senator or Representative that votes against such a bill needs to be voted out in 2012.

  • alyshapope

    This could be ideal for someone who nobody wants to cover. It’s an opportunity to get coverage subsidized by your fellow American. Learn more about it at “Penny Health” online

  • Pingback: Senators call on Reid to unveil Democrat budget proposal (Daily Caller) | Sports, News, Entertainment, US Legislation

  • jonathan galt

    The first post us enough to let you know that someone has to start acting like mature adults- even parents. They still want to play childish word games. The sad part is the msm and dems know that the average American has about an eighth grade education due to our pathetic schools and even worse parental responsibility. So they can just fire off their snarky party one liners. All the while knowing that the useful idiots do not have the intellectual horsepower to see past it.

    We have serious problem that must be confronted now. The democrats have no plan whatsoever. They have not submitted a budget in nearly 800 days. Cut off their allowance, send them to their room, make adult decisions and don’t let them come out until they understand the consequences of their actions and promise to think right.

    • rudedogfoxtrot

      as usual you repugs spew all the bs while looking the other way. facts are that if you only cut, you drain the economy. has to be a balanced approach and the wealthy will need to take a hit. you ok with that, unless you are millionaire, then you have a problem. If you want to sheep repeat what is said on fox, then you are saying you are ok with killing SS, Medicare, and Medicaid. I have worked for over 35 years and paid into SS and Medicare. If you say your okay with this you are either a rich A$$ or stupid!!!

      • Ocarter

        Its obvious you wouldn’t understand economics you barely have a grasp of proper grammar. Collecting welfare for 35 years does not constitute having a job. Typical liberal rhetoric if you don’t agree with them you are stupid. I bet you weren’t aware 50% of the American people don’t pay income taxes. Get over your man crush on Obama and ask him to set the example and donate all his income to pay off the national debt. He could lead with a gesture like that. I am sure he won’t comply because Libs only want other peoples money.

      • jonathan galt

        And that my friends, says it all. Start off with name calling. ( repugs; hate spewers) Then imply insensitivity and ignorance. (look the other way) The use falsehoods ( cutting government budgets drain the economy). Use scare tactics (kill ss, Medicare and Medicaid). Denigrate success ( being a millionaire is bad) Revert to name calling( sheep fox news). Misstate reality. More name calling (stoopid a$$ ; millionaire). All while not offering any plan or maturely dealing with problems.

        The fact is our government spends too much and does so ineffectively. When the government takes our money, it drains the economy. It takes money out of the monetary cycle and returns it back in a one off and fiscally irresponsible manner. The entitlements are broken and unsustainable in their current form. No one us saying kill them or take from our seniors; however, they ate suggesting a plan that is not without pain but may fix things so there is something left. You can tax me and others who have benefitted and helped others through hard work, 100% and it will not correct the problem. It will necessarily hurt the lower classes more.

        For example, take another 50k from me this year. Thankfully, my family survives and I send the money to the government. They spend it once ( after using 40-50% on bureaucracy) and spend it ineffectively. I spend it and it cycles through the local economy six to ten times. Let’s say, I remodel a room in my house for 10k. The architect and contractors get that money. They use some for their family which starts another cycle. The pay their workers and subs. In turn, they spend the money locally starting another cycle. Once all is said and done, that 10k may change hands 5 or 6 times before leaving the local economy. With families involved 25-50 people may benefit from that money. The government might help out one or two at most. You see that extra income I earned does not sit around it buys goods and services. The effect is even worse when I do not know if I am going to get hit with 5 or ten percent taxes next year, because I responsibly hold this money back until that question is answered. My wife and I have frozen certain money right now and have cut discretionary spending in half because of uncertainity. That drains the economy.

        I am in the process of splitting my business up into entities with less than fifty people each to avoid penalties of Obamacare. That means 12-18 people, good people, will lose their jobs because of Obamacare penalties and the uncertainty of increased taxes on my corporation that makes over 250k. See my business is treated like an individual by the IRS and will get taxed more too. I have to be responsible and free up capital to pay these taxes when they hit. I already have just above razor thin margins so I can’t risk lowering those- so people and vendors get cut. Ultimately, my business does not pay the taxes my customers do and their is nothing I can donabout that. Margins must be maintained.

        My lowest wage earners have to cut back because food prices, gas costs and the like cost more. So they are getting hit the hardest. The new lightbulbs cost 10x as much nearly an hour’s wage.

        So I am not stupid or greedy just prudent. I take the risk and get rewarded. But, if I cut anymore there will be no business for anyone.

        So save your insults. Try to understand how business works before displaying the fact that you do not understand economics. Those fat cats they refer to are small busineese.

        • didacticrogue

          Hear, hear!

        • SunnyJ

          You have seen their pattern and respond accordingly, addressing each point for what it is. Very nicely done. I see there are many more reporters, congressman, bloggers etc. that are using what we’ve learned from Beck and Breitbart about the progressives to take their spin broom and beat them with it, using their own words. Again, very nicely done here.

  • MegaGorgo

    GOP idiots vote for We Don’t Need No Stinkin Inrastructure. Welcome to Somalia.

    BTW WHERE WERE ALL OF THESE GUYS WHEN BUSH destroyed the SURPLUS and RAN UP ABOUT 10 TRILLION in DEBT including the bills he left Obama to pay?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, snore zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    oh and don’t vorget Bush phony accounting that put the Iraq and Afghanistan wars “off the books”

    now that’s a neat trick.

    • didacticrogue

      You went to all the trouble of creating an account just so you could post this nonsense? How embarrassing.

      • The Center

        I mean…doesn’t he have a point? Not that it matters, but just for fun…what’s your answer to his/her question?

        BTW WHERE WERE ALL OF THESE GUYS WHEN BUSH destroyed the SURPLUS and RAN UP ABOUT 10 TRILLION in DEBT including the bills he left Obama to pay?

        • didacticrogue

          This idiot chose as his-or-her very first statement on this site a hyperbolic partisan attack. Where I’m from, that’s no way to either make friends or influence people.

          I don’t typically consider a “BTW” the point of a post, but since you apparently do …

          … BUSH destroyed the SURPLUS …

          Bush’s fiscal record is indefensible, though any reasonable person must accept the 9/11 attacks as something of a mitigating factor regarding his performance. However, the spending-like-there-is-no-tomorrow trend he undertook in spite of other commitments will be the enduring stain on his legacy.

          … and RAN UP ABOUT 10 TRILLION in DEBT …

          Yes, the national debt was over $9 trillion at the end of Bush’s 8 years, but by the same reasoning, roughly $6 trillion of that “belonged” to Bill Clinton. Again, no reasonable person would hold the Obama administration accountable for the entire $14.6 trillion debt – only the $5 trillion he’s accumulated in his first two years of office. If you agree with me that Bush’s Δ10% increase in the national debt(as a percentage of GDP) is outrageous and inexcusable, you’ll obviously join me in condemning the Δ25% increase perpetrated by the current administration in one quarter the time.

          … but “Bush … ran up about $10 trillion in debt” … ? With this one statement, MegaGorgo identified him-or-herself as someone worthy of out-of-hand dismissal.

          … the bills he left Obama to pay

          Oh, that’s right … it’s all “Obama’s money,” anyway.