With an imminent debt ceiling deadline and no signs of compromise, President Biden and House Republicans are facing a standoff that could last months and cause “irreparable harm” to the country. Republicans say the reckless spending of the last few years makes it mandatory that Biden agrees to spending cuts, which he refuses to enact. Straight Arrow News contributor Newt Gingrich argues the Republicans must hold firm in their demands for fiscal reform and that a plan to balance the budget is the only way forward.
One of the biggest challenges this year is going to be passing the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is a provision by which the Congress with the president signature establishes the total amount of money, the U.S. government’s allowed to borrow. That’s why it’s called a debt ceiling. It was put in many, many years ago, to try to block the constant increase in the federal debt. It hasn’t worked very well. But it does guarantee occasionally, a real fight over priorities, a real fight over budget reform, and a real fight over trying to shape the government of the future.
Now, we’ve had huge amounts of spending in the last couple of years. So the debt ceiling is about to go up pretty dramatically. And the question is, do we just roll over and allow the people who’ve been using our taxpayer credit card to have even more money from the taxpayer? Or do we have a pretty big fight — and start setting some limits on what government can spend — and start moving towards a balanced budget?
There is a very determined group of conservatives, particularly in the House, who are determined to fight for moving towards a balanced budget. I have a pretty deep bias. As Speaker of the House, I helped pass the only four balanced budgets in your lifetime. And in fact, we balanced the budget so decisively, that by the end of the fourth year, they were projecting that by 2009 we would have paid off the entire federal debt. And in fact, Alan Greenspan, then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, actually had a study group asking the question, ‘How do you manage the money supply if you’re not borrowing anything?’ They’d never contemplated that the last time we got in that shape was 1837. Now things broke down, politicians didn’t follow through. And as a result, we’re back to deficit spending.
But it is possible to balance the federal budget. It is possible to control spending, and the conversation we’re going to have this year about raising the debt ceiling is a very important point. To have that initial look, I would say also, that from a conservative standpoint, to just roll over and allow the people who have been capriciously misusing the taxpayers’ credit card to continue running up more and more debt would be very irresponsible.
And so my hope is that Speaker McCarthy and the new Republican majority are going to draw a very firm line in the sand, indicate clearly to President Biden that the only way they’re going to get the debt ceiling signed is to have genuine reforms that begin moving us towards a more fiscally solid base. It’s going to be very important. I think all of us have to pay attention. This isn’t some theoretical arcane thing. This is about controlling inflation. It’s about strengthening the dollar. It’s about making sure that we move back towards a balanced budget for our children and for our country.