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By Congressman Robert Hurt
NOTE: This column was written prior to the House's vote on the federal debt ceiling.
The focus of Congress this past week and weekend continued to be on the ongoing debate regarding the President’s request to increase our nation’s debt limit.
Throughout the negotiations, given the seriousness of this issue and its impact on the people of the 5th District and all Americans, the House took the lead and remained committed to finding real solutions that address our dire debt crisis while at the same time protect our economic recovery.
To that end, the House passed two pieces of legislation to put in place commonsense spending reforms to get our fiscal house in order while minimizing the risk that our markets would be negatively impacted.
The first was the bipartisan Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which would have implemented immediate and significant spending cuts, established enforceable caps that reduce spending as a percentage of GDP, and required the passage of a balanced budget amendment.
The second was the Budget Control Act. While far from perfect, this legislation would have cut government spending by $917 billion, which is more in cuts than the $900 billion increase in the debt limit. It would have established enforceable spending caps on discretionary spending, provided us with an opportunity for another $1.8 trillion in cuts in discretionary and mandatory spending by the end of the year, and required the passage of a balanced budget amendment.
Delivering on the message sent by 5th District Virginians to change the spending culture in Washington, these bills demonstrate the House’s strong commitment to putting our nation on a more sound fiscal footing and forcing Washington to live within its means without imposing job-crushing tax hikes on our families and small businesses that would jeopardize our economic recovery.
Unfortunately, despite the House’s good faith efforts to address this issue with two fiscally responsible solutions to our debt limit crisis, the Senate and White House continually refused to act, pushing our nation up against the August 2nd deadline.
Instead of joining with us to get something done for the people we represent, the Senate served as a roadblock to progress remaining inflexibly committed to the current spending status quo no matter what the cost – failing to pass even one measure of their own to address this issue.
With time running out, this past Sunday, the framework for a possible debt deal plan was announced. I look forward to reviewing the details of the plan as we continue to work to move our nation forward and reduce the debt, grow the economy, and create jobs for all 5th District Virginians.
If you need any additional information on these or any other issues, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.