The Obama administration’s pattern of borrowing and spending money without making the necessary cuts to balance the federal budget “will drive us over a cliff very quickly,” Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
“What has happened since the August 2011 budget deal is that we’ve spent more than we’ve taken in very quickly,” the first-term GOP congressman, a member of the House Budget Committee, tells Newsmax. “$2.1 trillion was authorized for new borrowing, and if we reach our debt ceiling again – which we’re predicting in early January – that means, again, we borrowed and spent $2.1 trillion.
“What that sends is a message to our creditors in the international markets is that we’re not serious about our spending problems. Whoever the president is in January is going to likely face a real threat, another potential downgrade to our credit rating because of the inability of Washington to get its spending under control.”
Huelskamp, who said he voted against the August 2011 budget proposal, said that it is important that the lame-duck Congressional session planned for after the Nov. 6 elections be used to develop a serious budget plan for the nation.
The federal budget deficit is expected to surpass $1 trillion for the fourth straight year, and $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts under sequestration are set for Jan. 2.
Experts, however, are predicting a short-term agreement to push the fiscal cliff down the road as the most likely outcome of the lame-duck session. That makeshift agreement would also include the basic tenets of a long-term solution.
“I voted against the debt deal myself,” Huelskamp said. “I thought it was not enough. It didn’t send a clear message – and we will perhaps have a situation where we spend the entirety of the $2.1 trillion without making a single cut.
“After the debt deal last August, Standard & Poor’s downgraded our credit rating – and if you can’t make any cuts, and you want to raise the debt ceiling again, they could very possibly downgrade our credit rating again, which sends a very clear message that our interest costs will go up.
“We cannot continue to borrow money today and make cuts sometime in the future,” Huelskamp added. “It’s going to be the debate about sequestration as we enter a lame-duck Congress.”
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has addressed both issues, he said.
“There is a will in the U.S. House of Representatives. We passed a bill that would cut the necessary amounts that were agreed to. We looked at what was different than what was agreed to in the sequester negotiations – and it would make certain that we would not have a massive tax decrease on Jan. 1, which is the tax cliff.
“Frankly, no matter what happens in the election, Mr. Obama will still be president at the time and Harry Reid will still be head of the Senate, and none of those folks refuse to make any cuts. It’s been very clear.
“The House has been sent bill after bill,” Huelskamp added. “I’ve been frustrated at times that the House hasn’t made enough cuts, but when you go in the room and it’s two on one, it’s very clear that, hopefully, the American people will say: ‘Hey, who are we going to hold accountable. Let’s kick a few folks out.’
“But, again, no matter what happens in the election, you’ll have an incumbent president and a lame-duck Congress trying to figure these things out – and that really is a fearful situation for me.”
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