Debt limit compromise missed opportunity

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

 

Scott DesJarlais

Scott DesJarlais

SCOTT DESJARLAIS

u.s. congressman

From the beginning I made it clear I would not support any government-spending bill that provided funding for ObamaCare. I stuck to that promise throughout the entire government shutdown because I believed it was the right thing to do for both our country and our community.

But while I am certainly disheartened, the people of Tennessee are now going to be subjected to a law that is a complete and total train wreck, there is something else that is equally concerning.

Politicians in Washington will consume themselves over the next few weeks fretting over who the media perceives as the winners and losers of the government shutdown. The spin-doctors will be deployed and the battle will continue to rage on the cable news shows.

But what will be lost in this back and forth is a very simple fact: we are still without a plan to prevent our nation from falling off the fiscal cliff.

In my opinion, the debt limit compromise that passed the House and Senate represents the biggest missed opportunity I have seen since arriving in Washington. And it shows the American people that the Washington establishment is still more concerned about poll numbers and elections than the American people.

We have accrued more than $17 trillion in debt. It is such a large number I imagine some find it incomprehensible. Often times I get the feeling that the media and my Democratic colleagues dismiss it as merely another GOP talking point. However, despite Washington’s eagerness to ignore our debt, it is very real; it grows every single day; and we nave no credible plan to stop it from consuming our economy.

In ten years the Congressional Budget Office estimates that our debt will be around $25 trillion and roughly 77 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. In 2038 debt held by the public will hit 100 percent of GDP.

CBO made it clear in a recent report that this level of debt will lead to investors questioning our government’s ability to pay its debt obligation and make it more difficult and expensive for our nation to borrow money. Further, CBO states that our debt will have significant negative consequences for both the economy and the federal budget. That is why I felt it was critical for Republicans to stand their ground in de-funding ObamaCare. The president’s health care law is projected to add another $2.6 trillion to our debt in just the next ten years.

As Republicans we have a responsibility to fight for limited government, balanced budgets and a return to our constitutional principles. Last week’s debt limit compromise did none of these things. I think it is a very telling that the only way that this bill raising the debt limit could pass the House was that all 198 Democrats voted for it. What is the point of having a Republican majority if we are going to let Democrats dictate what will and will not pass?

I promised my constituents that I would go to Washington and fight for what is right — not simply for what is easy. I do not care if that means I am at odds with my party’s leadership. I do not care if that means I get attacked in the press. This bill was not good for the American people, it was not good for my constituents and I know I did the right thing by voting against it.

I truly hope that this event will serve as a learning opportunity. And in three months, when the debt limit must be raised again, I expect my party to do the job the American people sent us here to Washington to do. If republicans do not force this administration to stop the spending madness, who will?

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