The “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Pledge may become the litmus test for GOP presidential candidates hoping to gain the support of conservatives, including Tea Party members during the make or break primary season.
Those who sign the pledge vow to oppose any attempt to raise the debt ceiling unless the agreement is accompanied by substantial spending cuts, spending caps, and a balanced budget amendment. During his speech Friday at the Republican Leadership Conference, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint said he supported the pledge. Appearing on CNN Wednesday morning, DeMint says signing the pledge is just a first step.
I think it’s a good signal that we’ve got folks who are willing to take a stand, and we’ve gotten e-mails from a lot of people running for Congress who want to show their constituents that they are willing to stand up from some kind of fiscal sanity. I think you’ll see this catch on; but again this is not something that originated here inside Congress, this is something that the American people are doing. It’s not just the tea parties; I think you’ll see a lot of Democrats out there saying that we need to balance our budget.
DeMint goes against the grain of many economic experts in saying that the country will not default if if doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, but some stiff belt-tightening will have to be done.
We’re not going to default on our loans. If we never raise the debt ceiling again, we would not default on our loans: we would have to cut back on spending in a lot of places. But that doesn’t need to happen, if the President and the Democrats would work with the millions of Americans to simply say six or eight years out we’re going to balance our budget, but we need to raise our debt ceiling today. I think you’d find a lot of people at the table discussing that if they would come around.
Known as aTea Party kingmaker, DeMint’s support helped push a number of coonservative candidates to victory in a number of congressional races in the 2010 election. Those candidates won running on a platform of cutting spending and balancing the federal budget. DeMint says what the country needs is a constitutional amendment, similar to the one that exists in the constitutions of 49 states, mandating that the government balances its budget. DeMint says the pledge provides a small, but significant step.
We’re borrowing 43 cents on every dollar we spend, and there is no indication we’re going to stop that. Unless we have a requirement, a constitutional requirement, we’re going to destroy our country. So the reason for signing the pledge is to show Americans where we stand, what we’re willing to do.
DeMint says GOP presidential candidate, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has signed the pledge and he says former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he will soon sign the pledge. Fellow South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham released a statement Thursday stating that he has signed the pledge.