Yesterday, we growled about the need for our representatives on Capitol Hill to support Cut, Cap and Balance, a plan to “get us back to a point where increases in the debt limit are no longer necessary."
We also included the response of Sen. Mark Warner, one of Virginia’s two U.S. senators in the Growls. Today, we provide you the response of Sen. Jim Webb, who responded on June 27, 2011. He did not comment on whether he supports Cut, Cap, and Balance, but he did express concern about "unchecked deficit spending." His wrote:
“Dear Mr. Wise:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding budget and spending issues. I appreciate your taking the time to share your concerns with me.
“On May 25, 2011, I voted against several budget proposals offered by Democrats and Republicans for fiscal year 2012. None of these bills had been considered by a Senate committee or debated in the Senate, and the House Republican budget, in particular, raised concerns regarding its impact on the long-term viability of Medicare. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on a responsible path forward on the federal budget.
“In the coming weeks, Congress will debate raising the statutory debt ceiling, which has restricted total federal debt levels since 1917. As you may know, the federal debt reached reach its statutory limit, $14.3 trillion, on May 16, 2011, although extraordinary measures will extend the U.S. Treasury's borrowing capacity until August 2, 2011. It is imperative Congress act to avoid downgrades to the U.S. credit rating or default on U.S. debt obligations.
“I believe that curbing the growth of our deficit and accumulated national debt stands as the most formidable domestic challenge facing Congress and the President. Unchecked deficit spending impedes economic growth, increases the cost of borrowing, and leaves younger generations an unacceptable economic and tax burden.
“I am committed to addressing our nation's long-term fiscal challenges. Within a year, the first of the 78 million strong baby boomer generation will be eligible for full Social Security and Medicare benefits. To come to grips with these many challenges, we will need to contain entitlement - particularly health - costs, the main driver of our long-term debt problem, curb spending, and increase revenues while ensuring the fragile economic recovery continues to gather steam. I also recognize that the need for fiscal discipline must be balanced with maintaining access to essential services for our nation's most vulnerable populations.
“I appreciate hearing from my constituents. Your correspondence helps me serve you better in the Senate. I hope that you will continue to share your views with me and my staff in the years ahead.
“I would also invite you to visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities and positions on matters that are important to Virginia and our nation.
“Thank you once again for contacting my office.
“United States Senator”
We regret that neither of Virginia’s two senators support the initiative known as Cut, Cap and Balance to return the nation to a point where increases in the debt limit are no longer necessary. However you can contact your representatives on Capitol Hill using the following information:
At the moment, I’m not aware of Rep. Moran’s position on Cut, Cap and Balance. A review of his 2011 press releases revealed one on May 16, 2011 that involved the “federal government tapping federal pensions as debt limit reached.” In addition, ARLnow.com reports on the following July 11 meeting where we may learn Rep. Moran's position:
“Rep. Jim Moran is teaming up with the nonpartisan Concord Coalition to host “Priniciples & Priorities,” described as an “interactive exercise in which participants team up to tackle the federal budget deficit by making many of the policy decisions facing lawmakers today.”
“The event, which is open to members of the public who register online, will take place at the National Rural Electric Cooperative building in Ballston (4301 Wilson Boulevard), from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 11.
"Moran is not exactly known as a fiscal conservative, thanks in part to public remarks about “earmark[ing] a lot of money through the appropriations process.” Still, the long-time congressman acknowledges that “difficult choices must be made” regarding the budget."
Perhaps we will learn of Rep. Moran’s position on Cut, Cap, and Balance next Monday, July 11. Register online at Rep. Moran's website.
UPDATE (7/20/11): ARLnow.com reports that Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia) is "proud" of his vote against the "Cut, Cap, and Balanced Budget." last evening in the House of Reresentatives." According to ARLnow, is proud of his vote against "Cut, Cap, and Balance" because (italics in the original):
I was proud to vote against the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” tonight. The House Republicans have presented us with their vision for America’s future. This is a vision in which the country turns its back on the achievements of the last century and chooses not to invest in meeting the challenges of the next century.
The 18 percent spending cap mandated by the bill would return the government to spending levels not seen since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid. This would necessarily result in unprecedented cuts in student loans and grants, transportation, education, environmental protection and enforcement, in other words, the physical and human infrastructure of our economy.
The bill also demands that in return for avoiding an economically disastrous default on our debt, we make $111 billion in immediate spending cuts, seriously increasing the likelihood of a double-dip recession.
As an appropriator I have learned that budgets are the firmest expression of our values. This is not the time for the Democratic Party to sacrifice our values, values held by a majority of the American people even in the face of opposition that has reached unprecedented levels of ideological radicalization. We must address our long-term deficits, but we must do so in a balanced manner, combining rational spending cuts and increased revenues.