Once again Congress has shown its lack of leadership. The Republicans were elected, in part, due to their Pledge to America that vowed to reduce spending by $100 billion. While this is a fraction of what must be cut to balance the budget, they have now gone back on even this simple promise. And lest you think that this was a compromise position, be aware that not a single Democrat voted for this bill. This is the Republican starting point and represents their approval of another $1.5 trillion deficit.
When the Republicans could not agree on exactly where to make cuts of more than $61 billion, the Republican Study Committee proposed to impose across-the-board spending cuts to trim an additional $22 billion (for a total that still would have been $17 billion shy of the promised amount of cuts). This was an exceptionally reasonable proposal; if you can't agree where the cuts need to be made, you must cut everywhere. Ninety-two Republicans joined every Democrat to block these cuts.
I commend Jim Jordan (OH), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and the Virginia supporters, Randy Forbes, Robert Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, and Rob Wittman for having the courage to support this bill. Unfortunately, Eric Cantor and Frank Wolf joined with all of the Democrats in Congress to block this sensible amendment. By voting against these additional cuts while voting for the final spending bill, they have demonstrated their tacit support of another $1.5 trillion deficit. For the record, here are the positions of our local congressmen:
Frank Wolf (R) voted against the additional cuts and for this spending bill despite his pledge not to raise the debt ceiling. This obvious inconsistency is one more sign that his public statements are not backed up by his voting record.
Jim Moran (D) voted against the bill complaining that too many jobs would be lost; the reality is that the jobs are being lost due to poor government policies. But even so, our generation does not have the right to steal money from our children's future. Representative Moran has not provided any solution to even lower the deficit, let alone for achieving a balanced budget.
The time has come for leaders who are willing to tackle the tough issues rather than simply blaming the other party and voting along partisan lines.