$100B— For Tea Party patriots, it’s the ante for budgeting credibility

Last week, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ended weeks of budget speculation and caterwauling in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee. He not only committed to cutting $100 billion from his first budget as Speaker, he suggested in his comments that he was committed to cutting even more. With the release of the Republican budget on Friday, it appears that he and the Republican leadership have finally kept their word.

On behalf of Tea Party Patriots, we only have one comment: Nice start.

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Republican credibility as fiscally responsible managers of public resources is on the line, especially when the president’s own proposal falls short. The American people gave the Republicans an overwhelming victory in November, based, in part, on their “Pledge to America” to cut $100 billion in their first year.

More importantly, this was not something foisted on the Republicans by shrill outside voices. This pledge was not the result of a pressure group or a legislative log roll — it was their self-generated promise for power. The notion that anyone in the party wanted to backslide from that commitment just months after the election is evidence of just how corrupting the halls of Washington can be.

Last week, even Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended the attempted budget cutting backslide with the well-practiced Washington condescension that people just don’t understand. Well we understand just fine. The Republican leadership made a promise. It is good to see that it will be kept. Though Rep. McCarthy said it couldn’t be done, they have apparently figured out how to do it. Those are the kinds of things that the voters will remember in 2012.

But cutting $100 billion from the federal budget is not the finished product or the final measure of fiscal success. For Tea Party Patriots and most Americans, this is the ante of budget cutting and fiscal sanity. There is more cutting needed, and the evidence is abundantly clear.

In remarks to the House Budget Committee last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake explained that, at the end of 2010, federal debt represented approximately 60 percent of the GDP. In subsequent years, it will get much worse, with debt reaching almost 90 percent of GDP by 2020 and 150 percent by 2030. Chairman Bernake concluded by saying that this level of debt is not sustainable.

Public officials in Washington have a magnificent gift for understatement. Budget cutting and limiting the size of the federal government must become a full-time endeavor in Washington if we are to survive as a nation.

With the first $100 billion cut, Republicans will soon be given a second opportunity to prove the worth of their fiscal backbone.

In a matter of weeks, Congress will vote on whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.  The American people are united in saying ‘no,’ with recent polls indicating almost 70 percent of the American people opposed to this reckless action. Once again, congressional Republicans will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the American people that they are serious about bringing fiscal responsibility to Washington. Tea Party Patriots will be watching.

Tea Party Patriots grew into the nation’s largest grassroots political movement by advocating limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets. Our supporters — the American people — understand the importance of this issue, contrary to the speculation by Rep. McCarthy. They expect the Republican leadership to stand up for fiscally sound policies that secure the finances of the United States.

Under immense pressure from the Tea Party Patriots to live up to their promises, it appears that the Republicans have done the right thing and taken the first step on the budget, and now it is time to do the right thing by not raising the debt ceiling. The whole nation is watching.


Meckler and Martin are co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots.