The House held an important vote tonight. Major media outlets are calling it “symbolic,” but it’s far more important that they want to admit.
By a vote of 97-318, the House of Representatives rejected President Obama’s demand for an unconditional increase to our national debt ceiling. Every single Republican voted against the measure, along with 82 Democrats. Joining the Republicans were such luminaries as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
There’s a lot of talk about Rep. Anthony Weiner’s underwear these days, but tonight the entire Democrat Party was caught with its pants down. The party split roughly down the middle on this vote, and while the end result was not unexpected, it was still a powerful repudiation of the President’s clear desire to have unlimited debt and spending without conditions.
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, using the same tone of voice as Monty Python’s Black Knight employed to insist that losing his leg was a “minor flesh wound.”
“We believe [spending cuts and increased debt] should not be linked, because there is no alternative that’s acceptable to raising the debt ceiling,” continued Carney. “But we’re committed to reducing the deficit.”
This vote was a deafening rejection of that threadbare “spend now, worry about the deficit tomorrow” rhetoric. The American people will no longer fall for vague promises of spending cuts and fiscal responsibility in the future, once the latest round of wild spending sprees have reached their exciting climax. The official position of the Democrat Party – that debt can increase without measure, while the deficit can be closed with a few big tax hikes on faceless rich people with thick wallets – has been officially declared a non-starter.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pointed out that “the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats have repeatedly asked for a debt limit hike without any spending cuts and budget reforms, and the American people simply will not tolerate it.” He added that Congress needs “to create a better environment for private-sector job growth by stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have.” The Speaker’s web site notes a recent Resurgent Republic survey that found 9 in 10 voters opposed the President’s request for a debt ceiling increase without conditions.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said tonight’s vote “sends a clear and critical message that the Congress has finally recognized we must immediately begin to rein in America’s affection for deficit spending.” That covers Step 1 of our 12-step program to beat our addiction to Big Government.
Step 2 in the classic Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step approach is “coming to believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Hey, that part’s easy too – look at that lovely Constitution our Founding Fathers gave us, to outline our God-given rights, and the limits of the federal government! The other 10 steps are going to be agonizing, but we’re off to a grand start tonight.
Of course, we won’t understand the true and lasting significance of the House vote until we find out what “conditions” the Republicans are willing to insist on. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) issued a statement saying he “cannot support increasing the debt ceiling without real and meaningful spending reductions and reforms,” and “everything starts with putting our fiscal house in order.”
A combination of ironclad spending caps and a balanced budget amendment are the only real and meaningful reforms that will put our rickety old firetrap of a fiscal house in order. If the Republicans hold that line, the greatest political battle of our lifetimes is now in progress. Tonight, the House declared America will not surrender to insolvency. Big Government will demand our surrender again, before this battle is done.