Tim Phillips

It won't be easy. The President will threaten a "government shutdown" and say that Republicans are trying to "hold the American people hostage" by simply demanding the government stop living beyond its means. After four years of running $1 trillion plus deficits, it is President Obama who is holding the nation hostage to his thirst for overspending. Some Republicans will want to cut a deal that makes gimmicky, phantom spending cuts in order to avoid criticism from the Left. We need to remind them that negotiating with hostage takers is never sound policy.

The third opportunity arrives with the next debt limit vote in May. Contrary to the President’s rhetoric, conservatives have never claimed that the United States should not pay its debts. However, we recognize that merely hiking the debt limit without addressing the underlying cause is irresponsible and reckless. Our leaders must learn to practice responsible spending just like every American family. Simply raising the debt limit is no different than opening a new credit card to max out. The same principle applies to families and nations; neither can become financially sound by going deeper in debt.

These are our three opportunities to take a stand for America’s fiscal health. Americans for Prosperity has a three-part strategy to maximize these opportunities and make a real difference.

First, we must hold accountable Obama, Pelosi, and others who refuse to face the reality of our serious spending problem. Government overspending is hampering job growth and putting economic prosperity further out of reach for our citizens. Earlier this year Obama raised taxes on millions of Americans through the payroll tax and fiscal cliff deal. Now he wants even more taxes, and he’s guaranteed to hide behind the nice-sounding but ultimately empty promise of a “balanced approach.” Higher taxes, more spending, and calls for “investment” in green energy boondoggles is neither responsible nor balanced.

Second, we have to bolster Republicans in the House and encourage them to do the right thing on spending cuts. Time and again elected officials have promised to reduce government spending and put our nation on the path to solvency. The 2010 midterm elections sent a clear message from the American people that they expect their representatives to make tough decisions and actually cut spending. So far that mandate remains unfulfilled, making the upcoming grassroots action in key states and districts all the more critical.

Our final step is to bring significant grassroots pressure on key Congressional and Senate districts held by Democrats to deliver our message that they need to put party and ideology aside and do what's right for our nation's prosperity by finally cutting spending. Reducing spending certainly won’t make them popular with President Obama, but it’s the right thing to do.

For America to prosper and grow, 2013 needs to be a turning point. There will always be those pushing for more and ever higher taxes to fund the pet project of the day, and cutting spending will never be easy. But higher taxes and borrowed spending only hamper America’s economic growth. Now is our opportunity to turn that around.