For the small-government hardliners in the tea party, the only palatable way to increase the debt ceiling is to implement the Cut, Cap and Balance Amendment. And tea party-favorite Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. agrees.
In an op-ed for USA Today, DeMint says the amendment is the “only way we can guarantee that Washington will stop spending more than it’s taking in and avert the coming debt crisis.”
Cut, Cap and Balance does what it says. It allows for an increase in the debt limit on three conditions: the budget must be cut next year; there must be a spending cap over the next decade at historical averages; and there must be a constitutional amendment sent to the states to force Washington to balance the budget.
The proposal may pass in the House this week, but would certainly be dead on arrival in the Senate. Still, bringing the amendment to the floor may pave the way for House Republicans to eventually support a Plan B, most likely one being crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
DeMint, however, says that President Obama's proposal and the Reid-McConnell plan, which would give the president more power to raise the debt ceiling on his own, are both unacceptable.
“The 'big deal' that President Obama is seeking never balances the budget; it simply makes the debt bigger,” he writes. “It actually spends $6 trillion in new debt over the next decade and contains no long-term spending reforms. Worse, the new 'fallback plan' being discussed by Senate leaders gives the president a blank-check debt limit increase with the fig leaf of another commission that will be ignored like the last one.”