Utah Sen. Mike Lee says he is “not inclined” to support the debt-reduction agreement reached on Sunday, and stands by his principle that the debt ceiling cannot be raised without substantial spending reform. Lee also told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that a short-term solution cannot solve a long-term problem and the deal does not guarantee future spending cuts.
“You know I haven’t seen the legislation yet — I haven’t had an opportunity to read it yet — based on the summary that I've received so far I am not inclined to support it,” Lee said. “What I’ve said since before I was even sworn in to office, Wolf, is that I cannot support any effort to raise the debt limit that isn’t accompanied by immediate and permanent structural spending reform.
“I think for reasons I explained in my new book, “The Freedom Agenda,” that can’t happen without an amendment to the Constitution that restricts Congress’ borrowing power,” said Lee, who introduced the Cut, Cap, and Balance legislation in the House.
Blitzer asked whether the planned bipartisan committee tasked to come up with an even better deal by Thanksgiving does not satisfy the tea party favorite.
“You know six or seven months ago here in this town there were a lot of people who were talking about another stimulus package, about more spending — now we’re not talking about those things. We’re instead talking about cutting trillions of dollars,” Lee said. “Not withstanding that, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a permanent problem, it is a long-term problem, and a short-term solution can’t solve it.”
Lee said that the present Congress can’t guarantee that future legislators will carry through the cuts presupposed in the 11th hour deal.
“As I’ve said all along: Whether you are a liberal and you’re most concerned about protecting entitlement programs, or you're a conservative and you’re most concerned about protecting national defense, you ought to care about the fact that we need a balanced budget amendment,” he said. “Because if we don’t have one we’ll continue this out-of-control deficit spending pattern — a pattern that if left unchecked will eventually put us to the point where we’ll be spending more on interest on our national debt than we spend on any other program and that will rob everything from defense to entitlements.”
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