The 2010 midterm elections showed the American people want to tackle crushing federal debt before it’s too late. The Tea Party succeeded in handing control of the House of Representatives to Republicans, which thwarted White House plans for another massive stimulus program. That majority switch in one chamber hasn’t been enough.
Outlays have continued to grow year-after-year with annual deficits topping $1 trillion. The red ink will deepen later this week as the Senate is expected to approve a House-passed continuing resolution that maxes discretionary spending and adds another $106 billion in disaster and war spending that wasn’t offset. This is a departure from the previous House insistence on frugal appropriations bills that would have expended less in 2013 than was legally allowed under the debt-ceiling agreement sealed in August 2011.
Influential conservatives wanted to stop the measure from becoming law. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Colin Hanna, Gary Bauer, Brent Bozell and others wrote to Republicans before the vote Thursday, explaining, “Short weeks before the election, the grassroots will feel discouraged, perhaps even feel betrayed by congressional conservatives.” Club for Growth said it will score against members who support the measure. In the end, 70 House GOP members voted nay, but the measure still passed by a lopsided 329-91 margin.
Last summer, the Tea Party pushed House Speaker John A. Boehner to adopt a new policy in which a $2.1 trillion debt-ceiling increase had to be accompanied by at least $2.1 trillion in savings. It didn’t work.
“After all the haggling and agonizing last year, President Obama got every dime of his debt ceiling increase — and so far the debt has risen $1.7 trillion,” explained Patrick Louis Knudsen, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “Meanwhile, spending has not declined, and the government will hit its new debt ceiling in November or December. So here we are, with more debt, and no real spending control.”
With the White House and Senate controlled by liberal spending addicts, there’s little the House can do without triggering a government shutdown. The Romney campaign drove home the need for fiscal restraint on Monday with a new TV ad called, “Failing American Families.”
In it, a voice over explains, “Under Obama, families have lost over $4,000 a year in income. And the national debt is now $16 trillion and growing.” Mitt Romney adds, “We have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in. We can’t keep buying and spending and passing on debts to our kids. And I’ll stop it.”
The Romney campaign is the only one telling the truth that the only way to avoid bankrupting the nation is to reform Medicare and shrink the size of government. America’s credit rating and creditability on the world stage will continue to slide as long as the status quo continues. Citizens need to finish what they started in the last election. It’s time to get this Tea Party started again.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.