Cut Cap and Balance

Senate kills “Cut, Cap and Balance”

The Senate voted along party lines this morning to table “Cut, Cap and Balance,” the budget plan offered by House Republicans that passed that chamber on Tuesday evening:

The Senate voted 51-46, along strict party-lines Friday to kill the House Republicans “cut, cap and balance” legislation.

The measure would have cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, capped spending over the next decade and prohibited more borrowing until Congress passes a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

President Obama had threatened to veto the bill, which was dead on arrival in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the legislation “very, very bad” and said it was a waste of the upper chamber’s time.

During the debate on “cut, cap and balance,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued the GOP plan would solve the nation’s deficit crisis if Democrats would join Republicans in supporting it.

“This isn’t rocket science,” said McConnell. “We could solve this problem this morning if Democrats would…join us in backing this legislation that Republicans support.”

Supporters of the proposal have cited a CNN poll in recent days showing that voters support some parts of it, specifically the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). That’s not a surprise since BBA proposal are politically popular. However, the “Cut, Cap and Balance” proposal passed by the House only called for a BBA. It didn’t attain the 2/3 requirement to pass a constitutional amendment.

The Debt Debate, “Cut Cap Balance,” and Bush (Video)

As the debt debate continues with no end in sight (not even Aug. 2nd) some people are getting understandably upset. They want to know who to blame, and if anything that’s come up so far will actually fix the problem. Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the Cato Institute has come out with another outstanding video on the situation. The bad news is that you have to blame everybody, and no, there isn’t really a good solution coming out yet:

Again, there will be no dismantling of unconstitutional (or just flat out bad) programs and departments, just “trimming” around the edges, which won’t be good for the long term as they’ll a piece of cake to overcome. The “Cut Cap Balance” idea is a good start, but the Democrats will never go for it, and it’s only that—a start.

Mike Lee to push “Cut, Cap, and Balance”

Mike Lee

Last year, House and Senate Republicans pushed a deficit reduction proposal, dubbed “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” which would have cut mandatory and discretionary spending, capped federal spending at 18% of GDP, and required passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment. The plan, which had the backing of several prominent groups in the conservative movement, passed in the House; but unfortunately, it failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Undeterred by the expected setback, several conservative members in both chambers have continued to push the idea. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Tea Party favorite, announced on Wednesday that he is reintroducing an updated version of “Cut, Cap, and Balance”:

“The country is on an unsustainable fiscal path,” said Lee, a member of the Joint Economic Committee and author of the consensus Republican Balanced Budget Amendment.  “Cut, Cap, Balance is the only plan with significant support in the House and Senate that will address our debt and deficits, control spending, and fundamentally change the way Washington does business.”

The legislation cuts $62 billion from discretionary spending in 2013, places caps on future spending over the next decade, and creates a glide path to balancing the budget by 2020.  It also effectively “turns off” the sequester – the massive spending cuts to domestic and defense programs due to trigger at the end of the year – by amending the Budget Control Act and offsetting the cost of the sequester with other cuts.

Boehner tweaks bill to pass the House, final vote expected this evening

Earlier today, House Republicans rolled out a tweaked debt bill that could attract enough support from tea party-backed Republicans. The new language requires passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) before a second increase in the debt ceiling can be considered six months down the road:

House Republican leaders presented members on Friday with a re-worked plan to raise the country’s debt ceiling, and several previously skeptical members said that they would now support the plan.

Members who left a House Republican conference meeting said that the new proposal would not change the first step of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to raise the debt limit but would call for Congress to send to the states a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in order for the second stage of the debt-ceiling plan to take effect early next year.

You can read the new language of Boehner’s bill here. The House has already passed two procedural motions to move the bill to a final vote this evening. Final passage of the bill is expected some time after 6pm this evening.

Human Events has gone mad

I don’t think there’s a soul who has read my writings would classify me as an Obama fan.  There hasn’t been a lot he’s done that I’ve supported.  Going forward, I doubt there’s a lot he will do that I’ll support either.  We are diametrically opposed on many issues.  I generally don’t agree with him on most budgetary issues either.  However, I’m going to defend him a bit, because the conservative website Human Events has gone a little mad:

It’s time to face the unpleasant truth.  President Barack Hussein Obama has gone mad.

He’s mad in both senses of the word.  Later on Friday, after House Speaker John Boehner declared he would no longer waste his time “negotiating” with Obama, the President gave an astonishing press conference that played out like a nervous breakdown.  I don’t know why the press covered it.  They really shouldn’t cover any of his press conferences anymore.  The price of a seat at the negotiating table is a plan, and Obama doesn’t have one.

There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to anything else the President says, until he produces a concrete proposal with real numbers.  Otherwise, as Boehner discovered, no meaningful “negotiation” can occur.

So President Obama must have a plan, huh?  Just FYI, President Obama can have all the plans he want, but they have to come through Congress anyways, so why does he have to have one in the first place.  He, like many people on both sides, have a vague idea of what they want.  I don’t necessarily agree with him on that one, but he’s not that different from most other folks, including more than a few in Congress.

Michele Bachmann releases second ad in Iowa

With the Ames Straw Poll just a few weeks away, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has dropped her second ad in Iowa. In it Bachmann, who is facing inquiries as to whether her health would be a problem if she became president, explains that she voted against “Cut, Cap and Balance,” the deficit reduction plan offered by House Republicans, because it didn’t go far enough and reiterated her opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling:

Cut, Cap and Balance passes the House

While House Republicans fell short of the votes needed to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment (the Constitution requires 2/3 to pass an amendment), they did manage to pass the core of the plan by a vote of 234 to 190:

House Republicans on Tuesday approved an ambitious but legislatively ill-fated plan to enact deep spending restraints that could clear the decks for a compromise over the debt limit.

The so-called “cut, cap and balance” measure passed on a party-line vote, 234-190, as nine Republicans and five Democrats defected. Democrats excoriated the GOP for advancing the bill, which the White House has threatened to veto.
House Republicans reacted hesitantly to the “Gang of Six” plan, saying they had yet to see the details and were focused on their own proposal, which conditions a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling on $111 billion in immediate cuts, an annual cap on spending, and congressional passage of a balanced-budget amendment.

Even as the GOP brought the “cut, cap and balance” legislation to the floor, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said party leaders in the lower chamber had begun discussions over a “Plan B” to increase the debt ceiling by the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline if a broad agreement wasn’t possible.

You can view the roll call vote here.

“Cut, Cap and Balance” had become a rallying point for conservatives during the stalemate over the debt ceiling. And while it may have been better than other alternatives, it still didn’t deal with the very real issues that are causing the problem, as noted by Peter Suderman over at Reason:

Another day, no budget deal or debt ceiling increase

With House Republicans planning to bring the “Cut, Cap and Balance” - a plan that would cut the deficit in half, cap spending at 18% of GDP and impose a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) - later today, President Barack Obama promised that he would veto it should it clear the Senate and come to his desk.

It’s hard to imagine that Obama would actually veto this plan should it pass, but the hurdle for “Cut, Cap and Balance” is the Senate. While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who promised yesterday to keep the chamber in session until the debt ceiling is raised, may allow it to come up for a vote, the numbers just aren’t there to push it through. Still, Republicans in the Senate - including Mike Lee (R-UT), who just put out a new book on the need for the BBA - are making the case for passage:

“Only by restricting its Constitutional authority to engage in deficit spending will you get Congress to stop doing it or at least stop doing it to the reckless degree it has been,” Lee said.

One of the brains behind the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, Lee and his allies are pushing hard for Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment, which would prevent Congress from spending more than it gets in revenue.

Lee says now is the best time to pass such a measure, because while America is close to the breaking point, the country is not there yet.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.