Now even a few Democrats are realizing that we have to get some big spending cuts and future assurances before we even consider extending the debt limit...
Democratic Sen. Pryor a No on Debt Ceiling Hike Without Spending, Tax Code Fixes
Published April 21, 2011 | Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Sen. Mark Pryor said Wednesday he won't vote to raise the federal government's borrowing limit unless there's a commitment to address the nation's debt by cutting spending and overhauling the tax code.
The Democrat from Arkansas told members of the Political Animals Club that he was hopeful a bipartisan group of senators could come up with a plan within the next two weeks to reduce the debt based on recommendations issued by a presidential commission last year. The debt will hit its ceiling of $14.3 trillion by mid-May, and administration officials say the cap must be raised by no later than early July.
"What I've told anyone who will listen to me in Washington, including my leadership, is that I'm not going to vote for that unless there is a real and meaningful commitment to debt reduction," Pryor told the group at its monthly meeting at the governor's mansion.
Pryor said he believed the upcoming vote on the debt limit would prove whether lawmakers in Washington have the political will to begin addressing government spending.
"We have a $14 trillion debt because politicians love an easy way out," Pryor said. "They love to cut taxes and increase spending. That's the easiest thing for a politician to do."
Pryor said any plan for reducing the debt would have to include spending cuts, major tax code changes and efforts to grow the nation's economy. Pryor said every program will have to experience some cuts.
"Everybody's going to have a cut, no matter how worthy your program is or how much wise you'll be with the money or the great things you'll do. Get ready, because everything's going to get cut," Pryor said.
Pryor also faulted both parties for their approach to tax policy.
"Democrats think that if we can just raise enough taxes on millionaires, we can solve our problems. Republicans think if we never raise another tax for any reason under any circumstance ever again, we'll solve all our problems," Pryor said. "The truth is, the math doesn't add up for either of those positions. What we need is real tax reform. There's a ton of inequity in our tax code."
Pryor said he believed the debt commission appointed by President Barack Obama has provided a guide for lawmakers as they address the issue. That commission issued its recommendations, which included a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, but fell short of the votes needed to forward the recommendations on to Congress.
Under the commission's recommendations, about $4 trillion would be slashed from the budget over the coming decade -- three-fourths of it through spending cuts and the other fourth from higher taxes. Pryor said he believed the so-called gang of six working on a bipartisan compromise is looking at those recommendations as a guide.
"My sense is they'll take the debt commission's recommendations and they'll overlay that on top of the federal budget," Pryor said.
Pryor, however, said he's not on board with every recommendation from the commission. For example, he said he wouldn't support the commission's recommendation to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on federal income tax.