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Americans demand spending cuts in debt ceiling negotiations

Published in Blog on May 17, 2023 by Jakob Fay

President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy both say that they are determined to reach an agreement regarding the federal government’s debt ceiling before America defaults on its debt, but despite ongoing negotiations, progress seems to have stalled.

The president met with several high-ranking lawmakers this week in the White House for face-to-face brokering. The general consensus among both parties was that America will not default (which could happen as soon as June 1 if Congress does not hike its debt limit).

"To be clear, this negotiation is about the outlines of the budget, not about whether or not we're going to (pay our debts)," Biden assured reporters. "The leaders (of Congress) have all agreed: We will not default. Every leader has said that."

Where both parties disagree, however, is on what must be done before the ceiling is raised. Republicans have vowed not to increase the federal government’s borrowing limit until spending cuts are agreed to; Democrats, on the other hand, prefer to raise the limit without any stipulation for Congress to mend its spending habits. As both control a chamber of Congress, either could thwart a proposal that is not favorable to them.

Party leadership on both sides have expressed a willingness to concede on a few points for the sake of preventing a “catastrophic” default but face potential backlash from their respective bases if they do so. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, threatened Biden with “pushback on nearly any significant concession.”

“This is not an appropriate vehicle,” she said. “I don't think we should normalize such destructive tactics."

"We have made it clear,” agreed the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, “that if they give on these core Democratic values, there will be a huge backlash.”

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On the Republican side, McCarthy has thus far enjoyed better favor, with his proposed budget cuts praised by GOP lawmakers. If he were to capitulate, however, his good standing would no doubt spoil.

But in all of this politicking, one crucial factor is woefully left out of consideration: what the American people want.

According to new polling, nearly 60 percent of voters are completely opposed to raising the debt ceiling or say that the debt ceiling should only be raised if spending cuts are included. Those opposed include more than 60 percent of Independents, 90 percent of Republicans, and nearly 30 percent of Democrats. Additionally, most Americans also say that the government spends too much and has too much debt.

“We hear from tens of thousands of engaged citizens every week across the country, and the vast majority of the American people are incredibly pragmatic about policy decisions coming out of Washington, DC,” said Mark Meckler, President of the Convention of States. On the debt ceiling issue, Americans tell us they don’t understand why a country that has overspent for decades would just continue to spend and add debt without any restraints or conditions. This is insane fiscal policy, just as it would be insane to keep throwing more and more on a personal credit card with no payment plan, and asking the card company to raise one’s personal credit card limit,” he reasoned. “These results—in some sense—are not surprising. What is surprising is the degree to which elected representatives are flat-out ignoring this and lecturing all of us about being responsible adults at the same time. Voters are watching for leaders who stand with their priorities, not those who are perpetuating the unrestricted grift going on in DC.”

Regardless of how the present impasse is resolved, one thing is clear: the federal government is a broken system, dangerously out of control. For decades, we have had a runaway Congress. The only way to stop it is through an Article V convention. Nineteen states have already agreed to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution that limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials. We need 15 more to make this solution a reality.

If you’re fed up with how the federal government is wasting your money and know that, in the long run, nothing in DC will ever change on its own, sign the petition below and urge your state legislator to support Article V today.

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Almost everyone knows that our federal government is on a dangerous course. The unsustainable debt combined with crushing regulations on states and businesses is a recipe for disaster.

What is less known is that the Founders gave state legislatures the power to act as a final check on abuses of power by Washington, DC. Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the state legislatures to call a convention to proposing needed amendments to the Constitution. This process does not require the consent of the federal government in Washington DC.

I support Convention of States; a national movement to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution, restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

I want our state to be one of the necessary 34 states to pass a resolution calling for this kind of an Article V convention. You can find a copy of the model resolution and the Article V Pocket Guide (which explains the process and answers many questions) here:

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