Debt Limit: Chance to Break Spending Addiction

In a great Morning Bell, our colleagues at The Heritage Foundation outline the choice facing Congress. Our $45,000 of national debt per American sets the stage for a simple, but vital choice: reduce spending or become the Europe of the West.

On the CBS news show Face the Nation, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) outlined the same dilemma. Increasing the national debt without cutting spending “would risk repeating the mistakes of the governments of Greece, Portugal and Ireland–all who said ‘yes’ to everyone and ‘no’ to their economic future.”

The policy tools to cut spending exist. After all, Congress got us into this mess. David Addington, Heritage’s Vice President of Domestic and Economic Policy tells the story:

Federal spending has been out of control for decades, and federal borrowing has therefore also been out of control for decades. America has amassed a giant, unaffordable debt and a giant, intrusive government. This did not happen by accident. Congress passed all the laws that made it happen. Fortunately, Congress has under the Constitution all the power it needs to solve the problem it created. It needs only the will to do so and the support of the American people.

The question is whether Congress will use those tools and whether the American people will back them up. Poll after poll shows Americans want less debt and responsible government. Congress must listen.

Does Congress have the will to stop it’s spending binge? While we won’t know until they actually do something, there are a few positive signs. In this quick whip list, National Journal shows that 50 Senators have said they won’t support a debt limit increase without spending cuts:

At least 50 senators, including several Democrats, have signaled they oppose a clean vote to raise the $14.3 billion statutory debt ceiling. That is enough to block it.

We will be ensuring they do. Substantive spending cuts must come before any debt limit increase.

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