My Foundry piece this week explains the clean debt ceiling suspension is just the beginning of a sustained effort to abdicate fiscal responsibility. Some Republicans are discussing the possibility of reinstating the “Gephardt Rule,” a mechanism that allowed for approval of legislation increasing the nation’s statutory debt limit without an actual vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reinstating this rule would supposedly allow lawmakers to avoid periodic debt ceiling dramas, to the detriment of the American people:
America established a statutory debt ceiling in 1917 as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Services, the debt ceiling “imposes a form of fiscal accountability that compels Congress and the President to take visible action to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects in revenues.”
Washington is already starting to freak out about the upcoming debt ceiling debate. And it appears that reconciling lawmakers’ ideas from both sides of the aisle is already considered an insurmountable hurdle.
So as we approach the debt ceiling fight, how are lawmakers to obtain a victorious outcome – an outcome that serves the American people well and helps the economy? We’re sure to see lots of whining and histrionics from D.C.
And Congress may end up in a “stalemate” because liberal and conservative principles are like oil and water. But what does this mean for conservatives? How do we define victory? Should conservative lawmakers roll over and sully their principles so that an “agreement” can be reached?
DEBT LIMIT. In light of the approaching debt limit debate – and in light of our nation’s massive spending problem and weakened economy — conservatives have given Congress guidelines as to how to approach this issue. Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham and other top conservative leaders have sent an open letter to Congress, calling on them to put the federal budget on a path to 10-year balance:
In the coming months, you will face tremendous pressure to accept a deal to raise our nation’s debt ceiling. Conservatives around the country will insist the debt ceiling not be raised unless our nation gets on a path to a balanced budget within 10 years and stays balanced. This is not an arbitrary marker; rather, it is the marker laid out by the entire House Republican Conference in what has become known as the Williamsburg Accord.
Conservatives cannot enter into the debt ceiling debate without understanding the promise of the Williamsburg Accord.
On January 18, four current and former chairmen of the Republican Study Committee announced an agreement to re-sequence the 2013 fiscal fights. In exchange for holding the line on the sequester and producing a budget that balanced in ten years, conservatives agreed to postpone the debt ceiling debate for several months. In turn, the debate on the debt ceiling would revolve around enacting the policies that put the federal budget on the path to 10-year balance.
VOTE-A-RAMA. Heritage Action is tracking the Senate’s vote-a-rama via twitter. We want to give you a quick picture of whether budget amendments are conservative or not.
INTERNET SALES TAX. The Senate votes on the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which would have complex and negative implications. We will key vote against this harmful bill:
There is no Internet exemption from sales taxes; in fact, sales taxes are already collected for the vast majority of online sales. Instead, the proposal concerns the power of states over businesses outside of their borders. Specifically, the proposal would overturn a Supreme Court decision setting limits on a state’s ability to require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes for them, turning every out-of-state retailer into a sales tax collector for nearly 10,000 separate state, local and municipal tax jurisdictions.
Morning Action: Senators Want Time to Read 500 Page Bill
WELFARE. The House has the opportunity to preserve welfare work requirements with H.R. 890, a bill that will repeal the Obama administration’s July 12, 2012 memo allowing states to seek waivers for welfare work requirements.
Email your Representative to support this bill.
LABOR DEPARTMENT. It comes as no surprise that President Obama has chosen a partisan liberal from the far left on board as Secretary of Labor, and the appointee’s record on civil rights advocacy speaks volumes:
Perez is better known for his civil rights advocacy than for his work regarding labor issues. But that work establishes him as one of the administration’s most strident liberals and zealous activists.
Perez is a man with a mission who sees only modest change in the country from the ’60s. “Crosses are still burned in yards across the nation’s heartland,” Perez said at a 2010 Martin Luther King Day event in Greensboro, N.C.
He is particularly aggressive on issues related to immigration and voter fraud. He led the division’s efforts to sue Texas and South Carolina over voter ID laws, succeeding in getting the Texas law overturned. Florida was also sued for its efforts to strip noncitizens from the voter rolls.