By Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaker of the House
Coupling efforts to reduce America's debt and deficit with increasesin the debt limit is a common-sense policy that was used underPresidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton - and PresidentObama.
TheAmerican people know that Washington has a spending problem, and theywon't support another increase in the debt limit without meaningfulaction to reduce spending and reform government.
The CongressionalBudget Office tells us that the federal government will spend $640billion more than it takes in this year. Over the next 10 years, CBOestimates we will borrow and spend $6.3 trillion more.
TheAmerican people know that our deficits and debt are hurting our economyand costing jobs. They want their elected leaders to take meaningfulaction to reduce spending.
Every major effort to deal with thedeficit over the past 30 years has been tied to the debt limit. In 1985,President Reagan signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reductionbill, which included a debt limit increase. When President Bush reached abudget deal with a Democratic Congress in 1990, it included a debtlimit increase. President Clinton reached similar agreements with aDemocratic majority in 1993 and with a Republican majority on thebalanced budget agreement of 1997.
While President Obama nowinsists he will not negotiate on including deficit-reduction measureswith a debt-limit increase, that was certainly not always his position.The president worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction dealtied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011.
While the eventualresult - the Budget Control Act - has flaws (especially the "sequester"that President Obama developed and insisted upon), it has actuallyreduced federal spending for the first time in decades.
There isno need for market-rattling showdowns or brinksmanship in the discussionthis fall. The sooner President Obama starts to work with both partiesto solve Washington's spending problem, the better it will be for oureconomy.
This issue isn't just about dollars and cents. Unless wedeal with this spending problem honestly and forthrightly, our kids andgrandkids are going to face a much dimmer future. And we simply won'thave prosperity - today, or in the future - unless we address themassive deficits and debt that are hurting our economy and jeopardizingthe American dream.