By Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaker of the House
Coupling efforts to reduce America's debt and deficit with increases
in the debt limit is a common-sense policy that was used under
Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton - and President
American people know that Washington has a spending problem, and they
won't support another increase in the debt limit without meaningful
action to reduce spending and reform government.
Budget Office tells us that the federal government will spend $640
billion more than it takes in this year. Over the next 10 years, CBO
estimates we will borrow and spend $6.3 trillion more.
American people know that our deficits and debt are hurting our economy
and costing jobs. They want their elected leaders to take meaningful
action to reduce spending.
Every major effort to deal with the
deficit over the past 30 years has been tied to the debt limit. In 1985,
President Reagan signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction
bill, which included a debt limit increase. When President Bush reached a
budget deal with a Democratic Congress in 1990, it included a debt
limit increase. President Clinton reached similar agreements with a
Democratic majority in 1993 and with a Republican majority on the
balanced budget agreement of 1997.
While President Obama now
insists he will not negotiate on including deficit-reduction measures
with a debt-limit increase, that was certainly not always his position.
The president worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction deal
tied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011.
While the eventual
result - the Budget Control Act - has flaws (especially the "sequester"
that President Obama developed and insisted upon), it has actually
reduced federal spending for the first time in decades.
no need for market-rattling showdowns or brinksmanship in the discussion
this fall. The sooner President Obama starts to work with both parties
to solve Washington's spending problem, the better it will be for our
This issue isn't just about dollars and cents. Unless we
deal with this spending problem honestly and forthrightly, our kids and
grandkids are going to face a much dimmer future. And we simply won't
have prosperity - today, or in the future - unless we address the
massive deficits and debt that are hurting our economy and jeopardizing
the American dream.