Sullivan on Boehner Plan plus Balanced Budget Amendment

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After the Boehner plan (as it stood Thursday afternoon) failed to command enough votes to pass, the proposal was strengthened by adding back in to the bill a requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment and send it to the states for ratification prior to any further increase in the debt ceiling. That was enough to get a few more Republican congressmen to support the plan, enough for passage, 218-210, on Friday. (22 GOP congressmen voted no. All four Oklahoma GOP congressmen voted yes; Dan Boren and the rest of the Democrats voted no.)

The addition of the balanced budget amendment is a very positive change, although I'm still uncomfortable with this select committee idea and the small amount of FY 2012 cuts.

Here's a July 29, 2011, email from Sullivan. It appears that he took heed of the negative feedback he received from 1st District constituents about the Boehner Plan and communicated it successfully to House leadership, who in turn took the negative feedback seriously. 

(That said, I think it was a strategic error on Boehner's part to put another debt reduction plan forward, given that Cut, Cap and Balance had already passed the House with bipartisan support. But having put the Boehner Plan forward, it would have been difficult to back down completely.)


I have some good news.  I told you yesterday I was not done fighting for a balanced budget amendment requirement, and I am pleased to report that its back on the table.

Following our calls yesterday, my conservative colleagues and I met with the House leadership team both last night and this morning.  I made it clear where my district stood as did my colleagues.  Speaker Boehner listened, even postponing the vote, and went back to the drawing board. 

Speaker Boehner agreed to strengthen the balanced budget amendment requirements of his budget control plan.  Now, instead of just requiring a vote on a BBA in both chambers,  the Boehner bill now requires a balanced budget amendment be passed by both the House and Senate and sent to the states for ratification before the President can get his second tranche of additional debt ceiling authority later this year. 

So now, before president Obama gets a second round of debt ceiling increase, we get both passage of a balanced budget amendment and $1.8 trillion in additional cuts (which are required to be produced by a select committee with legislative authority and passed by Congress prior to any debt ceiling increase).

I want to be clear, this is a big win for our country and a testament to the grassroots work each of you do.  Again, the Boehner bill is not perfect, but it is essential that we pass a Republican bill with spending cuts and reforms, or else we put Harry Reid in the driver seat and face a real possibility of no spending cuts at all.  Our great country cannot afford that. 

Think about where we started, President Obama demanding a clean debt ceiling increase with no spending cuts - essentially a blank check.  House Republicans are on the verge of passing a bill that completely offsets a short term debt ceiling increase with spending cuts, and  will require that a balanced budget amendment to our constitution must pass the House and the Senate and be sent to the states for ratification and Congress must approve an additional $1.8 trillion in cuts before President Obama  can ever raise the debt ceiling again.

Thank you for your time and advice.  God bless,

John Sullivan

*Updated with BBA Modification*
Budget Control Act of 2011 - Five Key Points
House Republicans have again offered a common-sense plan that rejects the president's insistence for a blank check to pay the credit card bills that he has run up over the past two and a half years.   President Obama's unwillingness to address the true drivers of our debt assured that we could not achieve a true solution to the debt crisis we are facing. 
The Budget Control Act of 2011 is not the ultimate solution to our nation's spending-driven debt crisis, but it accomplishes what we've been working for since day one: it will reduce spending more than we increase the debt limit; it imposes no new taxes on anyone; and it guarantees House and Senate passage of a balanced budget amendment before any additional debt limit increase. 
1. Guarantees Passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment for Additional Debt Limit Increase:
Fifteen years ago, the BBA passed the House with bipartisan support, only to lose by one vote in the Senate.  Since then, the debt has grown by $9.2 trillion.  The BBA is a game-changer - the ultimate solution to our nation's fiscal crisis.  This bill ensures that a BBA will be sent to the states for ratification--before the second debt limit increase occurs.

The Budget Control Act requires the House and Senate to pass balanced budget amendment before the second debt limit increase occurs.  This will force each member of Congress to show his or her constituents if they believe Washington should spend money it doesn't have.

2. Avoids a Default on Current Obligations
Most Americans believe that people - and Congress - should pay their bills.  If the debt ceiling is not raised, at some point, obligations of the federal government will go unpaid.  Failure to meet these obligations will cause even more economic harm that the Obama administration has already done. Further uncertainty could lead to an increase in interest rates, which would hurt small businesses and families by increasing the rates on small business loans, credit cards, mortgage rates, car loans, and student loans.

The Budget Control Act would cut and cap discretionary spending immediately, cutting $22 billion in spending next year, and saving $917 billion over ten years, and raise the debt ceiling by less - up to $900 billion - in order to avoid default.

3. Rejects Calls for Job-Killing Tax Increases:
President Obama seems to be the only one in town still talking about tax hikes.  Our debt crisis is a result of Washington spending too much, not taxing or borrowing too little.  Raising taxes on job creators will cause even more harm - controlling spending must be the solution.

The Budget Control Act includes no tax hikes, and ensures that if tax hikes are a part of any negotiations for a future debt limit increase, the House can easily vote it down.
4. Cuts More Than It Hikes:
House Republicans have been clear that to pass the House, any debt limit increase must be accompanied by spending cuts that exceed the amount of the debt limit hike.  No more blank checks for President Obama - any new debt increase will have to be met with even more cuts.

The Budget Control Act also creates a Joint Committee of Congress that is required to report legislation that would produce a proposal to reduce the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion over 10 years, in addition to a Balanced Budget Amendment being sent to the states. Each Chamber would consider the proposal of the Joint Committee on an up-or-down basis without any amendments.  If the proposal is enacted and a Balanced Budget Amendment is sent to the states, then the president would be authorized to request a debt limit increase of $1.6 trillion. 
5. Changes Washington's Spending Culture:
In just seven months, House Republicans are already changing the trajectory of federal spending and actually shrinking a federal government that has done nothing but expand for the past 40 years. We passed the Path to Prosperity budget.  We passed Cut, Cap and Balance.  We have led the fight for controlling spending and saving our children and grandchildren from national bankruptcy and this bill will ensure that a Balanced Budget Amendment is sent to the states. 
For the first time in the history of modern federal budgeting, House Republicans will cut discretionary federal spending for two straight years.  Analysis by the House Budget Committee shows the GOP Budget Control Act achieves roughly 66 percent of the discretionary spending cuts in the House-passed budget.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 30, 2011 3:03 PM.

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