- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

America faces an un- precedented fiscal catastrophe. As our nation barely treads water in a sea of debt, the president’s budget proposal includes an outrageous $9.5 trillion in deficits over the next decade. And so much for the fiction that all this spending is putting people back to work - unemployment remains at 9.5 percent, which is a stark testament to the abject failure of Democrats’ trillion-dollar “stimulus” plan.

Even so, President Obama and those on the left have all but refused to budge on spending. When House Republicans offered our baseline of $100 billion in cuts - H.R. 1 - Democrats scoffed at the legislation, killing it in the Senate. Since then, 36 days have passed with no real solutions offered by Democrat leadership. The paltry $6.5 billion in cuts proposed as a counteroffer by the Senate cannot even be considered a pittance against the sheer magnitude of the deficit.

With less than two weeks remaining until a government shutdown, Sen. Harry Reid and congressional Democrats still show no willingness to do their jobs. The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate failed the American people in the last Congress by keeping spending at record levels without even passing a budget. Now it seems they plan a repeat performance, refusing to back down from their spending binge at any cost.

My conservative colleagues and I made it quite clear from Day 1 that we were serious about getting our nation’s fiscal house in order. This is not only about the future of our nation. A bipartisan consensus is growing that echoes what many conservatives have been saying - that America faces a severe and present economic threat from Washington’s increasingly absurd spending.

Under these circumstances, one would think that the entire legislature would be focused on finding ways to slash spending. The specific cuts could be haggled over between sides of the aisle or chambers of Congress, but instead the resounding cry from the Senate and the political left has largely been “no!”

Mr. Obama and Mr. Reid know that their offerings are insufficient. Should conservatives accept anything remotely like what they are currently floating, we are agreeing to a status quo that the American people have already stated loudly is not and never has been acceptable.

This attitude has revealed their political strategy. That is why I created CountdownToTheShutdown.com to highlight their tactics now and what I believe has been their strategy all along: to force a government shutdown and blame it on the conservatives trying to cut “essential” programs, such as Mr. Reid’s oft-mentioned Cowboy Poetry Festival. They seem to believe that these cynical tactics will generate a political wave - one they can ride to more destructive spending now and electoral gains in 2012.

Another key tenet of their strategy involves trying to alienate and discredit the Tea Party. In a recent release, Mr. Reid stated, “for the sake of our economy, it’s time for mainstream Republicans to stand up to the Tea Party and rejoin Democrats at the table to negotiate a responsible solution that cuts spending while protecting jobs.” The Tea Party has been a strong force for fiscal responsibility and a return to American values since its inception, and anyone who would denounce them in favor of the failed policies of Mr. Reid “for the sake of the economy” is poorly deluded.

The American people deserve better and restoring the security and prosperity of our nation demands more. We are plagued by uncertainty and instability from the policies of the last few years. The mountain of regulations from Obamacare has tied the hands of small businessmen across our nation, and has already begun to destroy family and state budgets with increased premiums and mandatory Medicaid expansions. The unprecedented spending binge has taxpayers, job creators and investors in limbo as they brace for tax increases and other fallout.

Every minute that passes brings us closer to a pivotal point in this session and possibly, in American history. Every legislator will have a choice of what he wants - whether it is turning away from the fiscal insanity of the past and taking a step back toward prosperity or continuing down the road of financial ruin and lost liberty. As much as Mr. Reid seems dedicated to the latter, I truly hope he and the Senate Democrats he leads choose to join us as we work to get America back on track. I encourage all conservatives to visit CountdownToTheShutdown.com join me in urging Congress to keep their commitment to the American people.

Rep. Paul Broun, M.D., is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia.