May 5, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement on the reported start of talks on increasing the $14.294 trillion national debt ceiling:
"Congressional Republicans are wisely asking Barack Obama and Harry Reid how much, exactly, they would like the debt ceiling raised. It's time for Reid and Obama to put up or shut up. If they refuse to put anything on the table, then Republicans should only offer enough of a debt increase to get through September 30, 2011, and then only with gargantuan, permanent spending reductions attached.
"We would suggest drastic cuts in return for increasing the debt ceiling, including $100 billion of discretionary spending cuts including the elimination of whole departments and agencies like HUD and Education, severe cutbacks in other areas like Energy, EPA, and Labor, and zero-funding things like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowments for Arts and Humanities, ending community block grants.
"But immediate cuts are not enough. Statutory spending caps are also needed on the total budget ratcheting down to 18 percent within five years, along the lines of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment, or passing the Amendment itself. Only with real limits on Congress' future spending can the budget ever be balanced some time in our lifetimes.
"Finally, hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts to so-called 'mandatory' spending must be included to prove a commitment to real fiscal responsibility.
"If Republicans are the only ones with the courage to actually put a proposal on the table, they should ask for everything that is necessary to bring the nation's fiscal house into order. That proposal must include a path to a balanced budget some time during this decade. This will let the American people know what Republicans would do if Reid and Obama were not obstacles to passage, offering a clear alternative to simply borrowing and printing trillions of dollars until the nation is bankrupted.
"Whether or not Reid and Obama state an amount for increasing the debt ceiling, Republicans must in turn lay down their comprehensive approach to save the nation from insolvency in order to assure the American people they made the right choice in the November elections that sent House Republicans into the majority. If they stand with the American people and fight to balance the budget with spending cuts, the American people will stand with them."