Rep. Allen West: Debt Deal Has ‘Principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance’
(CNSNews.com) – Representative Allen West (R-Fla.) said the new debt-ceiling legislation, the Budget Control Act of 2011, contains the same principles as the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill that was passed by the House but voted down by the Senate in mid-July, and that he voted for the debt-limit increase because of those underlying principles.
The debt-ceiling law allows the government to borrow up to an additional $2.4 trillion, on top of the previous debt limit of $14.29 trillion. West is a congressman highly favored by Tea Party conservatives. But his vote for the debt-limit bill is in contrast with other conservative candidates who voted against the bill, such as Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
At a Young America’s Foundation event on Wednesday at George Washington University, CNSNews asked West, “How are you going to explain to your constituents why you voted for [the Budget Control Act]?”
West said, “Well it’s very simple. First of all, if I asked you, if I was to vote no, what was I voting for? And to just come up here and say that you’re going to vote against something does not mean that you are governing properly, you’re not coming up with a policy to go forward. I think that when you look at the principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance, that they still are there.”
“It’s the 70-75 percent framework,” said West. “You’re not going to get 100 percent of everything that you want in Washington D.C., but I think that we have to understand that a year ago the conversation in Washington D.C. was not about cutting spending. The conversation in Washington D.C. was not about capping spending. And it definitely was not about a Balanced Budget Amendment. So if we don’t understand the incremental successes that we have, we could end up being our own worst enemy.”
The Cut, Cap, and Balance consisted of three basic components: cutting spending that would reduce the deficit next year and thereafter; capping federal spending, which would put the government on a path to a balanced budget; and passage of a balanced budget amendment, as long as “it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.”
Although it passed in the House with a vote of 234-190, the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan failed in the Senate by a vote of 51-46.
In regards to spending, CNSNews asked West, “Under this new [debt-limit] bill, would you say that the federal government will be spending more in fiscal year 2012 than fiscal year 2011?”
West said, “Well, I think that they’re going to be spending less: $21 billion. And then in FY 2013 there’s $47 billion of cuts for that year. But the most important thing we have to understand is: we need to win back the Senate. We got to get the House, so that we can continue on with implementing the right type of fiscal measures, spending control measures, responsible measures, to get this thing turned around as far as the economic state of our country.”
CNSNews.com also asked West whether the spending cuts in the debt-limit bill were future or current cuts. He said, “Well the ones that I just talked to you about, the $21 billion, that is current in 2012 and the $47 billion, that’s current as well. But you have to look at the fact that we’re going to have the caps on federal government spending.”
“And the most important thing is if we can get that balanced budget amendment down to the states, which it says we have to vote in the House and the Senate between 1 October to the end of the year on the balanced budget amendment, clean amendment, much the same as the one that was done 15 years ago,” said West.