By Erik Wasson - 01/17/13 04:46 PM EST
A coalition of conservative groups on Thursday demanded that Congress only raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt limit if a path to a balanced budget is enacted.
The groups say the plan must balance the budget within 10 years and not include higher taxes.
The memo is signed by the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, Citizens United, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity and other major organizations. In total, 41 conservative leaders signed the document.
The memo demands that revenue remain at 18.5 percent of gross domestic product in the balanced budget plan.
The memo seeks to blame the "fiscal cliff" and debt ceiling standoff on President Obama, and claims that once extraordinary measures are exhausted to avoid hitting debt ceiling, a debt default can be avoided.
“Through debt limit negotiations, Congress must require the Administration to accept a prioritization bill that ensures the president uses existing authority to prioritize interest payments on our debt to avoid a federal debt default,” the memo states.
Achieving the conservatives' demand will be tough: the House over the last two years passed massive reform budget that would dramatically change Medicare and Medicaid, but those plans only balanced the budget around 2035.
The groups note that Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeThe impact of silence: The incarceration of children who have committed no crime Fidelity denies lobbying for student loan tax break Cruz, Lee question legality of Iran payment MORE (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Rand PaulRand PaulTrump, Clinton boost Snapchat spending Clinton enjoying edge over Trump in Silicon Valley Trump gets little backing from Silicon Valley MORE (R-Ky.), and the House Republican Study Committee have put forward plans to balance the budget soon. Some of these plans rely on cuts to benefits for those reaching retirement age or the closing of major government departments to achieve their aims, however.