(CNSNews.com) – While President Barack Obama has not presented a specific alternative to Republican plans for reducing spending in the lead up to a vote on raising the debt ceiling, the White House has issued a formal veto threat to the “Cut, Cap and Balance,” plan that is expected to pass the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
“If the president were presented this bill for signature, he would veto it,” said a statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The Republican proposal would cut spending, cap the growth in future spending, and allow a vote on a constitutional amendment – to be sent to the states for ratification -- requiring a balanced federal budget. The constitutional amendment – though widely supported by 72 percent of the public – requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to pass, then ratification by three-fourths of the states.
“Cut, Cap, and Balance is the only solution that can pass Congress and actually stop the out-of-control growth of our debt,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, in a statement. “If we are to preserve America's AAA credit rating and grow the economy, we must make real spending cuts and send a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification.”
Both major political parties in Congress are looking at how to increase the federal debt ceiling – the amount of money the government can borrow – by $2.4 trillion by Aug. 2.
“This is our chance to reassure financial markets, jump start our economy, and prove to the world that America's leaders have the will to get our debt under control,” Jordan said. “In legislative form, Cut, Cap, and Balance would make real spending cuts in FY 2012, place firm caps on future spending, and – contingent upon House and Senate passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment – allow for a debt limit increase.”
During a news conference on Friday, Obama said, “We don’t need a balanced budget amendment.” But not until today has the White House made a formal veto threat to the broader cut, cap and balance proposal.
“The bill would undercut the Federal Government’s ability to meet its core commitments to seniors, middle-class families and the most vulnerable, while reducing our ability to invest in our future,” the OMB statement says.
Separately, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proposed to have the Senate vote to give Obama sweeping power to order increases in the debt limit totaling $2.5 trillion over the coming year without congressional approval. McConnell, however, views this as a plan B, and has said he would prefer a balanced budget amendment.
The OMB statement goes on to say that the president wants to cut $4 trillion from the deficit over 12 years. The $4 trillion figure came from a speech the president delivered in April that was never formalized or scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The president’s proposal includes an initial $400 billion in tax hikes.
The OMB statement says that passing a balanced budget amendment will, in the years ahead, “likely leave the Nation unable to meet its core commitment of ensuring dignity in retirement.”