The House voted to send the Senate a three-month increase in the national debt ceiling today, which will push the date for the next negotiation on the increase around the time the Senate is required, by law, to produce a budget.
North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer voted for the increase, and sent out this statement on it in a press release:
“Today, I voted for H.R. 325, the No Budget No Pay Act of 2013. Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed which controls the out of control spending in Washington, and allows for a broader debate about how to tackle the important issues facing America. House Republicans passed a budget in the past and we will do it again. With the right reforms put in place, the goal is to pass a budget balanced within a decade. This legislation obligates the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government spending problem which will help create more jobs for hardworking American families.”
I’ve already received some emails from conservatives upset with Cramer’s vote, but I’m honestly not sure what else the House can do at this time. Republicans have one house of the legislative branch of government. They cannot set the agenda. The most they can do is use leverage points, such as the debt ceiling, to get concessions out of Democrats in the Senate and President Obama in the White House.
In this instance, they’re going to force Democrats to budget. Is that going to solve our problems? Of course not. But Republicans can’t solve anything while largely out of power in Washington DC, and refusing the raise the debt ceiling at all would either result in a spending crisis which would ensure Republicans don’t hold the House after the next election or in President Obama deploying one of the “nuclear options” to usurp from Congress the authority over the debt ceiling.
Neither option is palatable. And let’s remember that what’s driving our national debt and deficit problem is the fact that most Americans don’t really want a solution. They want all the programs and appropriations the federal government is doing now, and then some, plus they want someone else to pay for it. Until Americans feel differently, and vote accordingly, things are going to stay the way they are.
Here’s my interview with Cramer from earlier this week talking about the debt ceiling and gun rights: