House rejects debt ceiling increase
In the end, it wasn't even close - 318-97 - and the message was sent to both Democrats and the White House that they better get serious about deficit reduction - and soon.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who supports a so-called "clean" extension of the debt limit, advised House Democrats prior to the vote to reject "this irresponsible piece of legislation that should have been handled in a bipartisan fashion."
"This is not an honest debate, this is not an honest proposal," he said. "This debt-limit extension is for what we have already incurred. This debt-limit extension vote is about whether or not we are going to pay our bills."
GOP leaders, who campaigned in 2010 on an agenda of fiscal responsibility, oppose any increase in the debt ceiling without major spending cuts.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, declared earlier this month that the overall size of any spending cuts has to exceed the magnitude of any debt-ceiling increase.
Boehner is simply not being bold enough, or tough enough so far. $2.4 trillion in cuts as a minimum is ridiculous. Perhaps double that amount over 10 years should be a target. It still won't be enough to get close to balancing the budget, but it will "bend the curve" in the right direction. And with a little growth in the economy, that deficit will narrow even further as increased economic activity will bring in more tax revenue - without raising taxes.
What Boehner should be shooting for are the absolute maximum in responsible cuts that can be made. His $2.4 trillion minimum target won't get the job done.
Maybe someone should send Boehner a message too.