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Rejecting Fiscal Insanity

Picture of U.S. Senator Mike Lee

U.S. Senator Mike Lee

Elected in 2010 as Utah's 16th Senator, Mike Lee has spent his career defending the fundamental liberties of all Americans and advocating for America's founding constitutional principles.

U.S. Senator Mike LeeHouse Republicans have recently passed a critical bill, the Limit, Save, and Grow Act, which could stop our nation from running off a fiscal cliff. It promises almost $5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. Yet, despite the impending fiscal doom, President Biden and Senate Democrats continue to mislead the American public and refuse to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans. They demand we acquiesce and pass a “clean” debt limit increase. 

This “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t fly. Let me address the false notion that debt limit increases must be “clean.” In the last 40 years, 19 of the 42 instances where Congress has voted to modify the debt limit have been part of a larger legislative or spending vehicle.  

In fact, then-Senator Joe Biden voted against multiple bills increasing the debt limit when Republicans held the White House. In 1984, he announced, “I cannot agree to vote for a full increase in the debt without any assurance that steps will be taken early next year to reduce the alarming increase in the deficits and the debt.” Furthermore, in 2011, then-Vice President Biden helped negotiate the Budget Control Act, which facilitated an increase in the debt limit while capping discretionary spending. 

Senate Democrats, including Schumer, have also used the debt limit as leverage in the past. This shows that the current resistance against the Limit, Save, and Grow Act is not a matter of unprecedented procedure, but a clash of two competing visions: Democrats want to keep spending at unsustainable rates, while Republicans recognize the need for fiscal sanity. 

We need the Limit, Save, and Grow Act for several reasons: 

  1. The caps imposed on discretionary spending over the next decade would result in $3.2 trillion of deficit reduction, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
  1. The bill saves $500 billion by repealing the green energy corporate welfare in last year’s partisan Democrat reconciliation bill.
  1. It strengthens work requirements for adults who receive SNAP benefits, a policy supported by a strong majority of American voters.

Our nation is on a dangerous path. The U.S. national debt has nearly doubled in just the last decade to $31.5 trillion, and our publicly-held debt as a share of the economy is at an all-time high. A growing number of Republican members in the Senate are prepared to vote against cloture on any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms. The Senate Republican Conference is united behind the House Republican Conference in support of spending cuts and structural budget reform as a starting point for negotiations on the debt ceiling. 

The American people elected a Republican House majority. It’s time for President Biden to come to the negotiating table and reach an agreement with House Republicans that will do what is right for our country. 

A debt burden that is as large as our entire economy and projected to double in the next 30 years is not a sustainable fiscal plan. We must correct course, and the Limit, Save, and Grow Act is the first step. As a united Republican front, let’s continue to push for responsible fiscal policy and stand firm against the Democrats’ reckless spending habits. 

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