WASHINGTON As the U.S. gets closer to defaulting on its debt, Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, stopped short of saying he will vote for a GOP plan in the House to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit, although he said it comes the closest to the cut, cap and balance measure he supports.
It is not as strong as I would like, Tipton said of House Speaker John Boehners plan, which faces large hurdles to passage because President Barack Obama and many Democrats strongly oppose it and some House Republicans have publicly opposed it as well.
A vote on the plan originally scheduled for today has been delayed after a Congressional Budget Office analysis found it would save less than expected.
Tipton did not reject out of hand any competing deficit-reduction plans, including one being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Rather, he said hes looking at all the plans on the table, and his vote would be determined by which comes the closest to balancing the budget.
We cannot continue to spend more than we take in, he said.
Tiptons remarks were made during a Tuesday telephone town hall conference.
Congress has only a week left to raise the legal amount of money the U.S. can borrow before the Treasury Department runs out of money on Aug. 2 and risks defaulting on its obligations.
Boehner, R-Ohio, and Reid, D-Nev., are pushing separate plans to raise the limit after negotiations for a grand bargain between Boehner and Obama to shave up to $4 trillion off the deficit through spending cuts, revenue increases and entitlement reform broke down last week.
Boehners plan would temporarily lift the debt ceiling and originally purported to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit over 10 years, although its undergoing a rewrite after the CBO analysis
A second vote to lift the debt ceiling would take place in about six months and would be conditioned upon passage of a second deficit-reduction package of $1.8 trillion in savings that would be crafted by a congressional committee.
Obama has vowed to veto the two-stage plan, saying it merely kicks the can down the road.
He and many financial experts have warned that failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in dire economic consequences.
Those include disruptions to a number of social safety net programs such as Social Security and a downgrade of the United States AAA credit rating, which could send shockwaves through the financial markets and result in higher interest rates.
Tipton, however, argued that Obama overstated the consequences and that enough revenue would be coming in so that most of the United States bills, including to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be paid.
We do have the ability to meet those obligations, he said.
Karen Frantz is a student at American University and an intern for The Durango Herald. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.