Spending cuts are no longer enough for conservative lawmakers: They want a balanced budget. And they’re getting vocal about it, arguing that the rest of Americans want a balanced budget too.
Senators Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), Mike Lee (R.-Utah), Pat Toomey (R.-Pa.), Representatives Ron Paul (R.-Tex.), Joe Walsh (R.-Ill.) and others expressed passionate support for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge conceived by the Republican Study Committee and already picking up steam in Congress and the nation, despite having formally launched only today.
Nineteen representatives from more than 40 sponsors, such as the Family Research Council Action, Conservative Action Fund, Concerned Women for America and FreedomWorks, promised to help hold Congress accountable for getting on board with the Cut, Cap and Balance plan.
Colin Hanna, president of conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring, insisted that even though the driving force behind Cut, Cap, and Balance comes from Republicans, “it is beyond partisanship, beyond ideology. It’s about survival.”
Representatives from the 11 senators and 14 house members who have already signed the pledge spoke about the necessity of drastically cutting government spending, but declared that spending cuts alone are not enough.
Paul sad, “Politicians of all stripes … have spent this country into insolvency. The only way to solve the problem is with a balanced budget amendment.”
The balanced budget amendment was endorsed by every other congressman, all insisting that it is the only way to keep Congress responsible in the future.
Hatch said that Congress “doesn’t have the will to live within its means,” and that it needed the “straitjacket” of the balanced budget amendment to keep it in check.
Graham echoed these sentiments, saying that the balanced budget amendment is the only way to control Congress, and that the economic benefits of doing so will directly affect the private sector. Once passed by Congress, he argued, the amendment would be ratified “lightspeed” by the states, and would instantly strengthen economics markets, both domestic and foreign.
But balancing the budget isn’t just an economic issue. According to Ken Blackwell, the chairman of Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment, the rising national debt is a moral and national security issue as well, a “triple threat to American exceptionalism.” The moral issue is the “intergenerational theft” taking place by exorbitant spending, and the 47% of the national debt held by foreign nations presents a significant threat to national security.
Walsh carried the theme of intergenerational theft, promising to “do my part to keep my children and your children from being indentured servants.”
Lee compared deficit spending to taxation without representation, because some of the hundreds of millions of Americans who will have to pay off the debt haven’t even been born yet. He further underscored the importance of an amendment, not pledges of further reductions, because “we can’t oblige a future Congress.” He expressed confidence that the amendment would obtain broad support, even from congressional members from across the aisle. “Their constituents will demand nothing less …. the last time we fought [taxation without representation], we won.”