Debt Crisis: House Rules Committee Debates HR 2560, Cut, Cap, and Balance Act 2011

July 18, 2011

6:37 pm, Central

Updated 8:07 pm, Central

Diane W. Collins



Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

House Rules Committee Debates

The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011

The House Rules Committee met today to discuss HR 2560, The Cut Cap and Balance Act of 2011.


Rep. Jason Chaffetz, (R-UT) one of the bill's sponsors appeared to answer questions and dispel rumors promulgated by the Left regarding the language and contents of the legislation.


Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Rules Committee's minority ranking member led the Democrat's offense... Funny, there isn't a lot to challenge. The bill printed on 8.5 x 11 is only five pages and is written in plain language. That didn't stop the Democrats who seem to fear the bill coming to the House floor for a vote tomorrow. At the very least, Democrats want and "open rule" which would allow them to amend HR 2560, but as Republicans pointed out Congress is under a timetable set by Treasury Secretary Geithner to act before the August 2nd [X-Date] or face a downgrade of the United States credit rating. Conservatives believe much of the "fear mongering" done by President Obama and his administration has actually imposed the reality of such a downgrade.


Rep. Van Hollen tried attacking the bill's potential affect on Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans Benefits but in Sec. 317 of HR 2560 under section (b) Exempt From Direct Spending Limits they're exempted. Van Hollen went on to attack the portion of HR 2560 that calls for a balanced budget amendment ratified by the states. He said it would subject Congress to a two-third majority vote in order to raise revenue when only ten of the forty-nine states that currently have a balanced budget amendment require a two-third majority to raise revenue. Republicans did not contest this. Many see it as a benefit, a measure of protection against "the tyranny of the masses." Fifty-three percent of the American people pay one hundred percent of the income taxes. Forty-seven percent pay no income taxes at all. The top ten percent of those who pay income taxes pay forty percent of the total income taxes. How can you not ensure protection for these citizens against those who would confiscate by a simple majority "other peoples' money?" Our Founders understood this principle. In fact, it is the very reason our congress is bicameral. Van Hollen continued with remarks on what he said was a revenue cap in HR 2560 set at "18%" of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, Rep. Chaffetz corrected him saying HR 2560 cites the "18%" as a historic figure of annual cash inflows into the Treasury looking back thirty to fifty years; and sets anticipated revenues by a sliding scale achieving 19.9% of GDP for fiscal year 2021. Chaffetz went on to tell the committee that the section of HR 2560 that calls for a balanced budget amendment does not cite any particular balanced budget amendment proposal and the 18% mentioned by Rep. Van Hollen is not included in HR 2560.


The Left threw a lot of smoke and mirrors into the hearing most likely hoping the liberal media would pick up the sound bytes and demagogue the bill. The President has already announced his intent to veto HR 2560 if it passes the House and the Senate. Yet, Obama has no plan which was clearly established in the Rules Committee hearing today although Rep. Van Hollen continued to cite the speech President Obama delivered at George Washington University and his public statements since that time. Republicans reminded Van Hollen of the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) response, "We can't score speech." But, even more telling is Obama's apparent refusal to accept a plan that solves the debt crisis problem by increasing the debt ceiling 2.5T lasting through his 2012 term; cuts spending by $111B in 2012; caps spending on a sliding scale from 21.7% of GDP in 2013 to 19.9% in 2021; and calls for a balanced budget amendment to be passed by a two-third majority in Congress and ratified by the states. How can Americans think Obama is serious about the debt and deficit if he vetos this bill?


As Rep. Chaffetz stated today during the Rules Committee hearing, the credit rating agencies have said they will downgrade the United States credit rating if they fail to increase the debt ceiling limit, but the rating agencies have also said they will downgrade our credit rating if we do not come up with a fiscally sustainable plan that puts us on a path to a long term solution. The Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011 does exactly that.



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