Late Thursday Update – the House of Representatives is still working through the process of selecting a Speaker. If you missed my posts this past Sunday and Tuesday, please take a moment to read those for broader context.
I want to start off by saying this:
What’s playing out in the House is a bit chaotic, but that’s a good thing. The fact this hasn’t happened in the last “umpteen years” is neither here nor there. We OUGHT to have a strong debate about the Speaker and his/her priorities. It is NOT healthy for party members to blindly follow the Establishment. And it is CERTAINLY appropriate to make sure the individual who will ultimately control everything in the House for the next two years is a person who can be trusted, and who is capable of the job.
I love the pundits on television claiming the “work of the people” isn’t getting done because, heaven forbid, the House has to take a few days to work through this process. Give me a break. We’ve been through FOUR YEARS of total dysfunction while Democrats were in the majority, so a few days of housekeeping on the front end of this congressional term is not the end of the world. We’re going to be fine. (And no, despite the scare tactics you’re hearing, a Democrat is not going to be elected Speaker.)
Here’s where things currently stand:
As I’ve said here and in countless interviews, my #1 objective in Washington right now is to put our nation on a trajectory towards a balanced budget and paying down our outrageous mountain of debt. A reasonable timeframe to balance the budget is probably around 7-10 years, depending on which experts you’re listening to. By “reasonable” I mean a plan that is healthy for our economy and will allow time for the various functions of the federal government to safely adapt.
7-10 years is NOT unreasonable! In fact, it’s awful that our spending is so out-of-control that it’ll take that long just to get back to the point where we’re breaking even. We don’t have a revenue problem. Instead, we have a spending problem, and Republicans are just as much to blame. Perhaps more so.
I believe the House Speaker has a critical role to play in restoring fiscal sanity to Washington. The status quo is failing us, so I want firm assurances that the next Speaker is able & willing to leverage every tool within his/her disposal to work towards spending reductions, a balanced budget, and ultimately digging ourselves out of this crippling debt.
Talks and discussions are ongoing, and I’m actively involved in many of those as we try to find common ground and an acceptable path forward. I don’t know which Republican will ultimately be Speaker, nor do I know how many more hours or days this may take. But I do know this…
We’re going to get through it, and we’re going to be better off on the other side precisely because we’re going through this process now.