You probably heard the news that House Republicans voted overwhelmingly last week to oppose another $1.2 trillion hike in the debt limit.
Why would 240 Republican House members vote to oppose a hike in the debt limit this month when only 22 of them opposed a hike in the debt limit last summer?
I’ll tell you why – and it’s an important lesson in the utter hypocrisy and duplicity of the House Republican leadership.
The reason only 22 courageous Republican House members voted to freeze the debt limit last year was because that vote counted. House Speaker John Boehner twisted arms and applied extraordinary pressure on his own members to approve the debt limit hike in July because if the House voted against it, borrowing in Washington would have stopped cold – forcing a cut of $1 trillion in spending over the next year. Boehner didn’t want to cut government. He merely wanted to claim the political high ground of saying he wanted to cut government.
So Boehner made a deal with the devil.
He persuaded his colleagues to approve the debt-limit increase last summer and hand over the hot potato of responsibility for future increase in borrowing to … Barack Obama. Boehner had the power to stop it, but handed it over to Obama, ensuring he would have all the money he wanted to misspend for the rest of his first term. The deal also allowed Boehner and his band of House Republicans to cast a meaningless show vote last week against borrowing – one they could tell the folks back home about.
It was all a charade.
And the debt keeps growing with no real checks on it again until January 2013 when a new Congress is sworn in.
This is the story Republicans don’t want you to hear this year. It’s an election year, and Republicans will gladly tell you what a big spender Barack Obama has been. And it’s true. What they don’t tell you is they had the power to deprive Obama of all that money in a single vote last summer.
Instead, they voted to give him all he needed and abdicate their sworn responsibility to stop the unconstitutional and reckless spending.
It’s a scandal of epic proportions.
But it’s a scandal that we can use to reclaim constitutionally limited government again as early as January 2013.
Now that 240 House Republicans are on record as opposing the debt limit in a formal vote last week, I plan to seek their signatures on a “No-More-Borrowing Pledge” that we can use to stop the flow of red ink next year when we have another vote that will count.
Would you like to cut at least $1 trillion from Washington spending?
Would you like to balance the budget in one year?
Would you like to cut out the waste and pork and unconstitutional departments and agencies in the capital?
We have to apply pressure continuously on Republican officeholders to use the potent political weapons they have to achieve the objectives they say they want.
We have to get those Republican officeholders and candidates to sign the “No-More-Borrowing Pledge” and hold them to their word the next time they have a chance.
We need to build public support and enlist other prominent individuals and organizations to step up to the plate in favor of freezing the debt limit.
We need to talk up this issue at every opportunity – on radio, at town halls, in letters to the editor.
We have an opportunity to take our country back in 2012. But it’s not through a presidential election. It’s through Congress. It’s time to force the Republicans in Congress to live up to their rhetoric about smaller government.