Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) found a novel way to out-conservative even Tea Party members demanding the debt limit never be raised: he suggested the ceiling be lowered instead.
In an op-ed in the National Review Online, Broun urged members to sign onto legislation that would reduce the debt ceiling by $1 trillion next year, forcing Congress to go beyond balancing the budget and instead find a huge surplus, which experts suggest would be tough given that a sudden $2 trillion plus total cut to federal spending would plunge the economy into a deep recession.
“Should my legislation be signed into law, Washington would have to get serious about making the cuts they’ve been talking about, and our national debt would be one step closer to being manageable,” he wrote. “My legislation would not just slow down, or stop the reckless spending train; it would completely turn it around. To be realistic, we can’t lower the debt limit today, but if we set a deadline, the beginning of FY [Fiscal Year] 2012, it would force politicians to make those decisions in the months to come.”
Broun’s timeline to start paying down the debt was even a bit much for Tea Party icon Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Asked by TPM about the bill, Paul said that while it was “interesting” and that he wished there more lawmakers him, he favored a bit more caution.
“I’m sort of looking, i guess, at a little more gradual approach,” he said. “Even my five year balanced budget, which is the quickest, still requires a trilion more dollars in borrowing.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.