Mike Needham

President Obama’s entire negotiating position is based on the belief that Republicans will blink (and history shows that to be the case). When the government shutdown in 1995, Congressional Republicans caved and gave President Clinton what he wanted, and the government reopened. Years later we would learn that Mr. Clinton was just 24 hours away from caving himself, had written the language of a balanced budget and was prepared to act on it.

We cannot repeat this failure again. Imagine how different our country would look now if we had held the line then.

President Obama has already blinked in this battle. First he wanted a clean debt limit increase, now he is advocating a “big deal.” Then he said he would not touch entitlements, now he has agreed to do so (although we can’t expect any substantive reforms from him). Then he claimed that he would veto any short-term debt increase, and just last week he has signaled that he is prepared to do just that.

Why? Because the ideas that conservatives in Congress are presenting, debating and passing resonate with the American people.

A recent CNN poll shows that 66% of the American people support Cut, Cap, and Balance and 74% support a balanced budget amendment. The President has threatened to veto Cut, Cap and Balanced and tersely dismissed the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment. Both of these are ideas that could get our country back on track.

Instead of embracing these serious proposals, the Obama administration retrenches behind closed doors, leaking rumors, negotiating secret deals and warns of “Armageddon.”

But the President’s administration says that forcing the government to live within its means will make it unable to keep its promises to the American people. How did we get to the point where we promise people things we cannot afford?

Now is our generation’s opportunity to set things straight. For too long, we’ve seen Washington take the easy way out – spend more money and pass the buck to the next generation. Heritage Action seeks to drive down federal spending and borrowing while protecting America and not raising taxes. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford the status quo, which is why any deal that fails to meet those conditions is a non-starter.


Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.