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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Republicans ready to 'cut, cap and balance'



dennisross.pngFlorida Republicans will join their GOP colleagues today in voting for a plan that would slash spending by more than $100 billion next year and require a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in exchange for raising the nation's debt limit.

No matter the so-called cut, cap and balance idea is dead in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Conservatives are pushing ahead, fueled by a large and vocal group of freshmen, such as Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland.

"Thank goodness we’ve been listened to by our leadership," Ross said in an interview. "A month ago it wouldn't have seen the light of day." Ross understands it's a symbolic but said he believes in the plan, which Democrats contend would have devastating effect.

"The one thing the balanced budget amendment offers us is the opportunity to restrain future congresses," Ross said. "It makes it difficult to live within your means but it provides you those internal controls to keep you from getting where we are today. Right now we've got a blank check."

The vote is this evening and will go along strict party lines. Other Florida Republicans have expressed support. Meantime, negotiations continue over a real deal. Below, floor speech video from Florida Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Also, Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, said he'll vote against the plan. Find out why ...



Rep. Mack sent a letter to House Republicans today explaining why he would vote against the plan:

Dear Republican Colleague:
Americans are fed up with Washington schemes and double speak. Today, we will be voting on such a scheme to increase the United States statutory debt limit by $2.75 trillion.  I believe voting for this increase, at this time, is a step in the wrong direction and puts our party on record as supporting a raise in the debt ceiling without any plan from President Obama.  Like most Americans, I understand the deep frustrations with this administration’s failure to address excessive spending, balancing our federal budget and eliminating our national debt.  I strongly believe we must not fall in line with a plan that raises the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to Cut, Cap and Balance our federal budget.

As evidenced by this past November’s election results, it is clear the American people no longer trust the President or his Senate followers to stop our government’s shameful spending habits.  Instead, they have called on us to put our fiscal house in order.  President Obama has yet to present any specific plan to cut federal spending.  We need to continue to earn the trust of the American people; and the vote in the House today is not the vehicle.  We need to make clear to President Obama, enough is enough.  The House must pass Cut, Cap and Balance legislation without the reckless debt ceiling increase.  President Obama must finally come to the table with a plan to fix the problem that he has helped create.  The Republican Party needs to stand together as we address this problem faced by our nation.  We must not let fear and distrust fuel this debate.

Let us remember what Barack Obama said on the Senate floor in 2006:  “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” 

Please stand with me in demanding a plan from President Obama and also calling on leadership to remove the debt ceiling increase from the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 5:59pm]


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