Boehner: A balanced budget amendment sets restraints “in stone”

posted at 11:35 am on July 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

House Speaker John Boehner takes his case to the people in a new video today responding to the veto threat to the Cut-Cap-Balance bill on which the House will vote today. The key sticking point is the condition that Congress vote to approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution that will set spending restraints “in stone” in exchange for a raise in the debt-limit ceiling. Boehner says that the President’s immediate veto threat proves that the White House isn’t at all serious about putting America’s fiscal house in order:

This week, the House will pass a plan that addresses our debt and spending while taking action on the debt ceiling. And while the House once again acts responsibly, the administration still won’t present a plan or even say what cuts it’s willing to make to end Washington’s spending binge and the economic uncertainty that it’s creating. This unfortunate veto threat should make clear that the issue is not congressional inaction, but rather the President’s unwillingness to cut spending and restrain the future growth of our government.

I like the CCB/BBA proposal, for the reasons that Boehner gives here. On its own, the CCB will probably pass both the House and the Senate, given the number of vulnerable Democrats looking at tough re-election bids in 2012. It would only take four Democrats to flip as long as Republicans remained united on the bill, and that would put Obama in the awkward position of vetoing a debt-ceiling hike that he’s claiming is necessary to avoid a fiscal Armageddon.

However, the likelihood of getting two-thirds of the Senate to pass the BBA is rather slim, and almost non-existent in the time left before August 2nd. The CCB is structured so that the debt-ceiling increase doesn’t trigger without it. Even if Obama signs it into law, the lack of a triggering action would leave us essentially right where we are now. What is Plan B?

Charles Krauthammer suggests passing a $500 billion debt-ceiling increase with corresponding cuts detached from any trigger and daring the Senate and Obama to reject it. That wouldn’t be a bad plan, but it would mean having to do so at least three times over the next 12-16 months, assuming Congress and the President don’t agree on a totally balanced budget for FY2012. It might be just as well to pass a CCB without the trigger (if Congress won’t approve the BBA) if a CCB gets $2.4 trillion in cuts without tax hikes, and push the debate into the next election cycle. Clearly, the GOP represents the thinking of the electorate in that approach. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it addresses the crisis and leaves the Republicans holding the high ground in 2012.

The ultimate fallback position will probably be the McConnell plan, but Republicans should try these two options before getting to Plan Z.

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Looks like Boner’s been drinking again.
BBA is an easy cop out for a Repuplican party that can’t get anything of substance done.

rickyricardo on July 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

What we need are cuts from current spending levels. It is ridiculous to call a cut a reduction in the growth of spending after the federal government increased spending by a third over the past two years.

Vashta.Nerada on July 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

The “McConnell plan” isn’t a plan, it’s surrender…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on July 19, 2011 at 11:41 AM

The ultimate fallback position will probably be the McConnell plan, but Republicans should try these two options before getting to Plan Z.

If you announce, as the Pubs did, that the McConnell plan is an option, then why should Obama and Democrats compromise at all? They can raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached just by holding out. It’s kind of like announcing a date of withdrawl from Iraq and wondering why Al Qaeda is laying low until we leave.

Christian Conservative on July 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Looks like Boner’s been drinking again.
BBA is an easy cop out for a Repuplican party that can’t get anything of substance done.

rickyricardo on July 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

So tell me about the Obama’s bill on the floor… oh that’s right… the Dems and Obama doesn’t have one… nor have they passed a budget… who can’t get things done?

Even Bush got a budget passed with the Dems in a majority in the House and Senate…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on July 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

PBHO just approved funding for a jackhammer.

Bishop on July 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Cry baby, Boehner, was a BIG MISTAKE.

stenwin77 on July 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

What does Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” say about this type of roadblock? Should be Obamalinsky’s next move. He really sticks to the script with that book….

adamsmith on July 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Looks like Boner’s been drinking again.
BBA is an easy cop out for a Repuplican party that can’t get anything of substance done.

rickyricardo on July 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

LOL yea and the dems passed the 2011 budget when ?
Typical, liberal when you see your own failure , go to personal attacks.

LOL

ColdWarrior57 on July 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Mitchy bill cannot see the light of day…period

cmsinaz on July 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

We should have a contest. How many House democrats will vote for this tonight? I’ll guess 17.

SouthernGent on July 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Ramesh Ponnuru makes some pretty good points against the BBA. I have to say, I lean very much in favor of it, but have been concerned with the way it’s written.

cartooner on July 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM

McConnell’s plan is not a plan. It has to be a non-starter. I did NOT vote GOP in 2010 so that the House can give up power to Obama. McConnell’s plan must not be viewed even as a last resort. It must be DOA in the House.

Weight of Glory on July 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Boehner can handle his drink. Hillary on the other hand looks hungover all the time. I would have to stay drunk to work for this administration, and I gave up the booze more than 15 years ago….

adamsmith on July 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Not holding my breath on the R’s standing firm. Too many “wet noodle for backbone, let’s all be friends” types still there.

This whole default arguement chaps my hide. We have plenty of money coming. We just have too much going out for stupid programs, just look at the Porkulus for an idea. It’s time to get back to the basics of the fed.

Hey Republicians….if you don’t get it done, we’ll find someone who will.

VikingGoneWild on July 19, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Christian Conservative on July 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Yup!

cartooner on July 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Not that it matters as I doubt it will pass, but the Balanced Budget Amendment cannot be vetoed. If the House and Senate pass it, it will go to the states, so Obama the Constitutional scholar is showing his ignorance and making me wonder just how the hell he got his degree if he is unaware he has no say in the matter whatsoever.

gmerits on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

I don’t want a BBA. Here is why. Someday the dems will be in total power again and they will raise the spending on all kinds of things, and then because we have the BBA, they will say that they have to raise taxes to balance the budget.

Sorry about the run-on sentence.

Mirimichi on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

McConnell should take his “plan” off the table, announce that the House plan IS the compromise plan (we are raising the debt ceiling) and force Reid and Obama to deal with the new plan “Z” the House plan. Repubs can say they offered a compromise, but for Obama’s hatred of the wealthy, we now risk default. Call his bluff.

Weight of Glory on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

The “McConnell plan” isn’t a plan, it’s surrender…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on July 19, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Sure, it’s a plan.

1. Bend over
2. Grab ankles
3. ????
4. VICTORY!!

CurtZHP on July 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM

What we need are cuts from current spending levels. It is ridiculous to call a cut a reduction in the growth of spending after the federal government increased spending by a third over the past two years.

Vashta.Nerada on July 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

You are correct, but in order to get actual cuts the trash in DC needs taking out.

dogsoldier on July 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I don’t think the House is going to raise the debt ceiling.
Boehner’s “plan” is just a public relations effort, before the technical default. Pundits everywhere will be saying how “shocked” they are.

With no debt ceiling increase, the budget is balanced immediately because, legally, no more Federal borrowing can take place. That means spending can’t be more than revenue.

Let’s ask Boehner: “Do you have the votes to raise the debt ceiling, or not?

Emperor Norton on July 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Rupert Murdoch just attacked in Parliament by demonstrator. Wife strikes back.

andy85719 on July 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM

I bet that makes the front page of The Sun.

Emperor Norton on July 19, 2011 at 12:05 PM

The ultimate fallback position will probably be the McConnell plan, but Republicans should try these two options before getting to Plan Z.

This shouldn’t even be on the table. This isn’t about Politics, this is about the WILL of the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

There are those in the Senate that have gotten this message even Lindsey Graham, agreed. He said as much when he was interviewed last night on Fox News. The progressives have been putting the skrews to the American people for how long now with their out of control spending? It’s our turn now.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Regardless of outcomes, CINOs Boehner & McConnell need to be replaced ASAP, then primaried.

AH_C on July 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM

David Kahane satirizes the demagoguery of the Left exquisitely. He begins by debunking the non-event of the freeway closing to thumping King Barry and the Left several times over.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/272150/carpocalypse-pow-david-kahane

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Never trust Graham, ever. The only thing you can expect from him with consistency is a knife in the back. And he always make conservative noises just before plunging that blade into whoever makes the mistake of believing him.

Extrafishy on July 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Let’s ask Boehner: “Do you have the votes to raise the debt ceiling, or not?

Emperor Norton on July 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

He’s not going to get those votes from the TEA Party Republicans in the House majority. He would have to cobble something together with House Democrats. It would take watering down the legislation to the point – that they should just raise the debt limit for House Democrats to vote for it.

Obama and the progressive wing of the Democrat party are between a rock (TEA Party House Members) and hard place. There are 23 Seats open in the Senate in 2012. It’s the progressives vs the will of the American people…remember the mid term election, as I recall the people’s will won out.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM

dogsoldier on July 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

AH_C on July 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM

These are nice sentiments but there seems to be no mechanism to do this in less than 16 months.

BTW (and OT), Iain Murray has posted an excerpt from his new book on NRO.

My conclusion from reading it is that the next GOP president better shutdown the EPA as his/her first act following the inaugural address.

gh on July 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM

With no debt ceiling increase, the budget is balanced immediately because, legally, no more Federal borrowing can take place. That means spending can’t be more than revenue.

Yes, but some people who shall never remain nameless(Obi-one) have trouble with “legally,” “balanced,” and “no.” I’m with you though; keep it simple, stupid.

RDE2010 on July 19, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I don’t want a BBA. Here is why. Someday the dems will be in total power again and they will raise the spending on all kinds of things, and then because we have the BBA, they will say that they have to raise taxes to balance the budget.

Mirimichi on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Except that the BBA also caps federal spending to a percentage of GDP. Therefore, there is also a limit on spending. The only way the Dems could spend like crazy is if they held supermajorities in both houses and the presidency. That is not likely to occur.

Kafir on July 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Nice … I skipped that one. The beginning is misleading.

gh on July 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Extrafishy on July 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

If he votes against his party in the Senate, it just means the Senate Republicans need another Democrat vote for the bill. I think Graham calculates every political move he makes. The writing is on the wall for the old Republican guard. I am not concerned at all that if this gets to the Senate, that the Senate Republicans can hold this together Coburn, Rubio DeMint et al are out front. Graham can strike any pose he wants – this isn’t gonna be about (1) personality in the Senate.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM

My conclusion from reading it is that the next GOP president better shutdown the EPA as his/her first act following the inaugural address.

gh on July 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM

That’s not going to be I believe in AGW Mitt Romney.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM

The only way for the Right to win the political game is to not play it. Do the right thing. Put good legislation on the table, and let it stand for an up or down vote. Do not water it down with bad legislation in the name of compromise. I have zero doubt that if the House did this, the Senate and Presidency will either approve it, or fall into Conservative hands in the next election.

samuelrylander on July 19, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I don’t want a BBA. Here is why. Someday the dems will be in total power again and they will raise the spending on all kinds of things, and then because we have the BBA, they will say that they have to raise taxes to balance the budget.
Sorry about the run-on sentence.
Mirimichi on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

That would only be if the amendment dictated that Tass have to increase to meet spending. If it is phrased as spending having to be cut to meet revenues, there is no problem.

Count to 10 on July 19, 2011 at 12:31 PM

My conclusion from reading it is that the next GOP president better shutdown the EPA as his/her first act following the inaugural address.

gh on July 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Republicans need to go through all EPA regulations written in the last twenty years, and determine if they are supported by Congress’s legislation. If not, they must be struck down.

Then start on all the other goverment departments, -energy, education, FDA, etc, etc.

Then impose massive headcount cuts, 10% in the first year for starters. We need to get headcount in government departments back to 1980′s levels.

slickwillie2001 on July 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

slickwillie2001 on July 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

This won’t work at all. Just close it down and fire them all. Worked for Reagan.

gh on July 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM

The AMT is a disaster, getting rid of it would be fantastic.

Caiwyn on July 19, 2011 at 12:17 PM

If the AMT were linked to inflation and Social Security to the average life expectancy, both of them would be just peachy. But they were made with the foolish notion that society is static.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The AMT is a disaster, getting rid of it would be fantastic.

Caiwyn on July 19, 2011 at 12:17 PM

If the AMT were linked to inflation and Social Security to the average life expectancy, both of them would be just peachy. But they were made with the foolish notion that society is static.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

From the other thread:

When first implemented, the AMT snared only the very wealthy

That sounds like how they originally sold the income tax – it’ll only get those rich bastards and such. But of course, as they say barack rolls down hill and any of those little wealth envy scams it eventually gets more people – who did not think they were wealthy.

Chip on July 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Chip on July 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Meh. Some people see it that way, but in this instance IMHO it’s just a law made by people who never thought inflation would get as bad as it did.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 19, 2011 at 1:04 PM

it’s just a law made by people who never thought inflation would get as bad as it did.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 19, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Just like Obama was supposed to be some super genius of inestimable intellect and it turns out he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing.

Chip on July 19, 2011 at 1:22 PM

I just read an article on Redstate “Here’s One Way Out of the Debt Ceiling Impasse”. A suggestion and a possible plan that may work.

http://www.redstate.com/blackhedd/2011/07/19/heres-one-way-out-of-the-debt-ceiling-impasse/

Haven’t had time to read the comments yet.

bluefox on July 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I predict things will just keep getting worse until a total collapse happens.
The U.S. will break up into several smaller counties.
Some heavily populated cities will go the way of Detroit.

The situation has reached critical mass, only by producing can we get out of trouble and that ain’t gonna happen.

On the bright side, my gardening is banging.

esnap on July 19, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Just like Obama was supposed to be some super genius of inestimable intellect and it turns out he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing.

Chip on July 19, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Wild E. Coyote – “Suuuuper Genius” with Obama sending him the ACME rockets…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on July 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Weight of Glory on July 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Nice thought. Wouldn’t that be great.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

He’s not going to get those votes from the TEA Party Republicans in the House majority. He would have to cobble something together with House Democrats. It would take watering down the legislation to the point – that they should just raise the debt limit for House Democrats to vote for it.

Obama and the progressive wing of the Democrat party are between a rock (TEA Party House Members) and hard place. There are 23 Seats open in the Senate in 2012. It’s the progressives vs the will of the American people…remember the mid term election, as I recall the people’s will won out.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Republicans who join with deomocrats to override the clear will of We the People are headed for big trouble in 2012.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

The debt ceiling itself is CAP, not raising it would force the Federal government to CUT spending and BALANCE the budget…

If the GOP leadership really want what they claim to want, they would not even consider raising the debt ceiling….

A “We must raise your taxes; It is in Constitution!” mandate is not needed. What is needed is honest representation…

equanimous on July 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM

They are all damned Liars. Boehner is just as bad as any of them. These ‘proposals’ are stupid. And if I took anything like them to my bank as a business plan, I’d be laughed out of the bank and possibly had the cops called on me for illegal acts such a ponzi scheme. Until they propose REAL cuts and not ‘cuts in the level of spending’ it solves nothing and continues a lie that’s been perpetuated for a half-century.

What a bunch of useless clowns. I’m so disgusted I could spit.

WashingtonsWake on July 19, 2011 at 2:28 PM

This election of 2012 is even more important than some people imagine.

44Magnum on July 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Boehner: A balanced budget amendment sets restraints “in stone”

Boehner needs a remedial course on “stones”…

landlines on July 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM