Upon becoming House speaker in 1995, Newt Gingrich decided it was crucial to adopt a plan to eliminate the federal deficit. In a meeting of House Republicans, Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich balked: “Where is it in stone that we have to balance the budget in seven years?”
Gingrich had a quick answer: “Let’s put it to a vote. Who wants to put it in stone?” Everyone but Kasich voted yes. The Republicans had made a commitment they would have to keep.
Contrast that show of determination with the vote last week by Senate Republicans for a budget resolution that projects an increase in the public debt of $9 trillion over the next decade. The supporters said that for arcane reasons involving budget rules and the repeal of Obamacare, the resolution is needed. But in practice, they insisted, they don’t intend to allow such a flood of red ink. Steve Chapman expresses his doubts.