BLACK: Demanding Answers On The Debt Limit
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
Friday, June 3, 2011 10:54 am
This past week, I and my fellow freshmen colleagues in the House rattled some cages in the debate over raising the debt ceiling and reminded everyone in Washington just how serious we are about ending the big-spending status quo in Congress.
First, we rejected the president’s request for a no-strings attached debt limit increase in an overwhelming vote on the House floor. For months now, President Obama and his advisors have been asking for this debt limit increase, claiming that the sky would fall if we did not give them another blank check.
They were joined by over 100 House Democrats who sent a letter last month, asking that House Republicans bring a clean debt ceiling vote to the floor. I guess they got a lesson in being careful what you wish for — because not only were Republicans united in voting down the debt limit increase, but 82 Democrats joined us in rejecting the proposal.
Having sent a strong message to the White House, the next day House Republicans met with the President and pushed him to join us in developing real solutions to our nation’s debt problems. Unfortunately we left the meeting with no clearer idea of the president’s plan — or if he even has a plan to pay down our debt.
It was a similar story the next day, when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner addressed a room full of freshman lawmakers. In the meeting, I stood up and told Secretary Geithner point-blank that before any members of the freshman class can even consider voting on the debt limit, that a package of serious spending cuts and structural reforms must be on the table.
While the White House has failed to forward solutions to our staggering debt, Republicans in the House are serious about ending the fiscal insanity. We are cutting spending every day, and we have put forward a plan that pays down our debt and puts the budget back on a path to balance.
When I asked Geithner for the Administration’s plan to pay down our debt, he answered that Vice President Joe Biden’s working group is all they have. The White House just doesn’t get it. Our debt is a staggering $14.294 trillion dollars — a number so big it’s hard to even comprehend. Everyone needs to come to the table and work to fix this. Why is the president sitting on the sidelines?
I have heard from multiple economists that the United States has less than five years to turn things around or we will sink under the burden of our debt. We saw what happened in Greece, and I reject that future for the United States. Just last week, Moody’s, the investment ratings agency issued a warning on U.S. debt. Now we have multiple independent ratings agencies who have threatened to downgrade American bonds without significant long-term steps to slash our debt. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road because the road has run out.
That is why I am leading my freshman colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama, calling on him to come to the negotiating table with his plan. It is time for him to step up and work with us because we cannot keep negotiating with ourselves. America must start paying down our debt before it is too late.
We are on the verge of a debt crisis, and everyone must be involved the solution, the president included. It is time for President Obama to show some leadership and help us save our country.