House Republicans Call Obama’s Bluff, Endorse Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill

By Matt Cover | July 15, 2011 | 3:04 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), right, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (AP Photo)

( – House Republican leaders formally endorsed the conservative Cut, Cap, and Balance Act for the first time on Friday, saying that by passing the bill Republicans would do what the president has not done: Show the American people exactly where they stand.

“We’re going to bring a bill forward next week, otherwise known as the Cut, Cap and Balance bill, to provide a balanced approach, so that we can demonstrate that we are getting things under control, that the people who put us here can gain some confidence that we’re going to begin to live like they do around their kitchen tables and in their businesses, stop spending money we don't have, and begin to manage this debt and deficit down to balance,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said at a GOP leadership news conference on Friday.

Cantor also said that in debt ceiling negotiations with the White House, the savings target kept moving, explaining that President Obama refuses to outline exactly what type of deal he would be willing to accept.

“In the current discussions at the White House, the president and the Democrats are offering perhaps $1.5 trillion, the number keeps moving -- but, perhaps,” Cantor explained.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Republicans would support a measure cutting spending now, capping it in the future, and enacting a balanced budget amendment.

“Our stand on the debt limit has been clear: There can be no tax hikes because tax hikes destroy jobs,” said Boehner.  “We need real spending cuts that will exceed the amount of increase in the debt limit; and we need real reforms to restrain the growth of spending in future years, like spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.”

President Barack Obama sits with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, as he meets with Republican and Democratic leaders regarding the debt ceiling, Monday, July 11, 2011, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Cut, Cap, and Balance bill would increase the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion while at the same time cut spending in fiscal year 2012 by $111 billion, cap spending in future years at a steadily decreasing level, eventually setting it at 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021, and pass a balanced budget amendment through both chambers  of Congress.

The debt ceiling increase would happen only after the balanced budget amendment has been passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

This is the first time the Republican leadership has endorsed the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. On July 6, Cantor refused to sign the Cut, Cap, and Balance pledge, saying he did not want to condition his debt ceiling vote on anything.

“I don’t want to sign a pledge that conditions my vote on what the Democrats may or may not do,” Cantor said on July 6. “I mean, I’m the majority leader, but I really only control one vote, and that’s mine, and I won’t sign a pledge that conditions my vote on someone else’s on the other side.”

Now, however, Cantor and Boehner will lead the effort to pass the bill through the House, sending a signal to the White House that Republicans are willing to take action to prevent a debt crisis.