Tags: GOP | Candidates | Stance | Debt

GOP Candidates’ Stance on Debt

Sunday, 31 Jul 2011 11:15 PM

By Martin Gould and Abigail Walls

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Three days before the Treasury’s deadline on the debt ceiling crisis Republican presidential candidates are making it clear where they stand on the debt ceiling crisis.

But even with Speaker John Boehner finally getting a bill through the House on Friday after adding a clause requiring consideration of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, the chances of a deal still appear distant.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has his own plan which will be discussed in a special session on Sunday. But the Senate and President Barack Obama both have to sign off on the deal and time is running short.

gop candidates debt billThe Boehner plan, incorporates the Republicans’ “cut, cap and balance” initiative. It includes an immediate $900 million increase in the debt limit with $1.6 million more to come after an agreement to identify $1.8 trillion in future cuts. It caps spending at $1.043 trillion next year which is $7 billion below this year’s figure.

The Reid plan includes an immediate $2.4 trillion rise to the debt ceiling to prevent the issue having to be discussed again before the November 2012 election and adds $1 trillion cuts to the Boehner plan due to savings on war funding. It does not include a Constitutional amendment provision.

Newsmax polled the 11 declared candidates and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is likely to join the field in the next few weeks.

• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: Says only responsible long-term solution is cut, cap and balance. “President Obama’s leadership has been an historic failure but I applaud Leader Boehner for standing firm against raising taxes when our nation can least afford them.”

• Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: Has strongly opposed any increase in the debt ceiling and has introduced a bill to pay off the national debt by first paying interest. She was one of 22 Republicans in Congress who voted against the Boehner bill. "It took us 219 years to get to the first $7 trillion in debt and only five years to almost double that amount.”

• Businessman Herman Cain of Georgia: Calls for massive across the board spending cuts and for entitlement programs to be modernized and in some cases eliminated. “This can only happen when our elected officials stop being politicians and start being leaders. Simply put: there is no ‘Department of Happy’ in Washington, D.C.”

• Texas Rep. Ron Paul: Believes the United States should revert to the Gold Standard and joined the minority of House Republicans voting against the Boehner bill for not doing enough. “It’s a fallacy that laws passed today somehow will restrain congressional spending in the future.”

• Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: Supports cut, cap and balance approach and criticized original Boehner plan which did not include it. “The debt limit is a line in the sand where Republicans can force the tough decisions to fix our nation's finances, and taxpayers cannot afford for us to back down now.”

• Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman: Says he would have voted for first Boehner plan as it was the only game in town. “This is what people hate about Washington — the fact that something this important to our wellbeing and overall economic competitiveness is delayed until the 11th hour.”

• Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia: Believes there should be short-term debt ceiling increases lasting just a month or two with equivalent cuts in spending. Also wants the Federal Reserve to be audited. “Ben Bernanke has spent so much of your money, and made so many decisions that affect the country that we deserve an audit.”

• Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson: Says the credit rating issue is not due to a debt crisis, but a spending crisis. “Raising the debt ceiling does nothing to solve that problem -- in fact, simply granting ourselves the ability to incur more debt, without major and real cuts in spending, makes it worse.”

• Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: Calls entitlement programs “the cancer to the long-term fiscal health of our nation." Describes cut, cap and balance as reasonable and responsible. “The time for posturing and rhetoric has passed, now is the time for the leadership the American people deserve from their representatives."

• Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter: Backed first Boehner bill but happier with second one that included balanced budget amendment. “We’re living in a time when we are being neither led nor governed. We’re seeing postures, not plans.”

• Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer: Calls all those involved in debt talks “clowns.” Says debt and spending level threatens the American way of life. “Tim Geithner talks about having a deal by 6 p.m. so the Asian stock markets won’t be upset. Who gives a damn about that?”

• Undeclared likely candidate Rick Perry: Says the panic over the August 2 deadline is overblown and bills will still be paid. Only supports cut, cap and balance if it requires a super-majority for any future tax increases “We've spent too much money, we've gotten our house in bad shape and we need to stop spending."

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