We can do better: conservative unity vital in debt ceiling debate

Along came this week, when House leadership decided to compromise with itself. We have seen the conservative movement, which had been unified in enthusiastically supporting the Ryan budget and Cut, Cap and Balance Act, splinter as some good conservatives support the Boehner plan and others oppose it. We have seen members of Congress attack each other and their staffs. We have seen aggressive whip tactics on the House floor, which bring back memories of the DeLay Congress which lost the trust of the conservative grassroots.

All for what?

According to Charles Krauthammer, it is to take the best option available while we wait for a mandate to govern from the White House. "Lincoln is reputed to have said: 'I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.'"  

ADVERTISEMENT
Well said. The problem for the Boehner Plan -- and the reason it is so aggravating that it has been introduced and torn a solidified movement apart -- is that it has, at best, half of Kentucky in the Senate. Rand Paul is not supporting it. Not one Senate Democrat is supporting it. So all the painful gnashing of the teeth over the past week has been for a plan that will be tabled in the Senate with fewer votes in favor than Cut, Cap and Balance?

Yes, the House of Representatives is just one-half of the Congress. The President has a seat at the table and the Senate has a seat at the table. What our country needs, however, is a constitutionally sound blocking minority. The President did not take a “balanced” approach when he enacted his far left wing agenda of Keynesian stimulus spending, government takeover of the health care sector, and massive regulation.

The 2010 election was not a mandate for a “balanced” approach to slowing down the Obama left wing agenda. It was a mandate to stop the unpopular Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda. That is the role of the Republican House. If the Senate and the White House, therefore, want to remove the blockade, they must come forth with a plan that controls spending.

This is where the House stood at the end of last week. It had passed a debt limit increase as part of Cut, Cap and Balance -- the second serious plan sent over this year by the House only to be deemed dead on arrival in the Senate. We had an entire week to express disappointment that the Senate has failed to act on every serious plan the House has sent it. Similarly, the White House has nothing to offer.

Instead, we spent the last week fighting with ourselves over a plan that is going nowhere, demoralizing the base which was critical to the 2010 election, and losing our moral compass in attacking some of the most decent people on our own team.

We can do better!

Michael A. Needham is the chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America (heritageaction.com).

More in Economy & Budget

Can the debt be stopped?

Read more »