ALEXANDER Says we must meet two “urgent” goals: reducing our debt, and meeting our financial obligat Alexander: “We Can’t Go From Being the Most Creditworthy Nation in the World to Being a Nation that Pays Its Bills Out of a Cigar Box”
should. And today we are talking about one of those ways to do it.
Republicans have offered – with Democratic cosponsorship in a number of cases – at least five major ideas for taking a significant step toward stopping Washington from spending money it doesn't have. There are five ways to do that:
First, there is the Corker proposal, which is bipartisan and over 10 years would bring our spending, which is the real problem, from its present level – about 25 percent of our total output in the country – to about 20 percent, which is the historical level.
Second, there is the balanced budget amendment, which is the most obvious solution for a nation that is spending more than it takes in. Families do it, states do it – balance their budgets, live within their means – and the federal government can do it. Over time, we can get back to the point where we were not many years ago, where we spend about the same amount of money we take in. As governor, I know that for 8 years we did that. As a result, we have almost no debt in the state of Tennessee, and as a result of that, we can use our gas tax money, for example, to pay for roads instead of interest on the debt.
Then there is a third idea that has bipartisan support; that is, the Gang of Six, which came out this week. The President said it was a gang of seven. He thought I was in it. I would have to say with respect, Mr. President, I am a law-abiding citizen. I am not a member of any gangs. But I support what they do because I think it is a serious, bipartisan effort to help stop Washington from spending money it doesn't have.
Then there is fourth proposal which has bipartisan support that Republicans as well as Democrats have initiated. Senator Isakson from Georgia has taken the lead on it. It is the two-year budget proposal which would allow us time every other year to focus our efforts on eliminating rules and eliminating regulations instead of adding so many.
So there are four ideas we have suggested – in some cases with bipartisan support – where we can take a significant step to reduce our debt while still honoring our financial obligations.
Today, we are talking especially about Cut, Cap, and Balance, our fifth idea. The legislation that passed the House of Representatives with 234 votes this week has come to the Senate floor. We are going to be voting on it in the next day or two. It has 37 cosponsors, and I am one of them. I especially commend Senator Lee for his work on putting this bill together and doing it in a way that would attract the largest amount of support.
This is a very reasonable proposal. The cut part is to say that for the first year, we would spend a little