Debt Limit Debate is About Leadership, Making Tough Choices


Last week President Obama asked Congress for $1.2 trillion in additional borrowing authority and Congress recently had the opportunity to respond to the President’s request.

Since the President took office, the national debt has increased $4.6 trillion.  The current federal debt now exceeds the U.S. gross domestic product.  And our federal government is borrowing more than 30 cents of every dollar it spends and in recent years that has been as high as 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

The President’s most recent request of a $1.2 trillion increase will bring the debt limit to $16.394 trillion.

Sign Up for E-News

Yet despite this fiscal outlook -- Admiral Mullen, the recently retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has rightly called the national debt “the single biggest threat to our national security" -- President Obama and some in Congress still refuse to make the difficult, long-term spending choices necessary to begin restoring fiscal discipline to the federal budget. 

The President publicly opposed a Balanced Budget Amendment -- an idea about which Thomas Jefferson said, “I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government.”

The House of Representatives in a majority fashion passed a Balanced Budget Amendment late last year.  Unfortunately it did not receive a two-thirds vote here as the Constitution requires and I hope that we can revisit that issue.

President Obama has failed to put forth a credible budget plan that reigns in runaway federal entitlement spending that is the single biggest contributor toward our long-term fiscal problems.  

When the President releases his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 in a few weeks, he has another opportunity to propose real spending caps and entitlement program reforms. I hope he will seize the opportunity to do so.  I commend to the President’s attention and to the Administration’s attention for example Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal and we would like to work in good faith with the Administration and with the President to make sure that we move forward in a fiscally responsible way.

But the debt limit debate is about leadership and making tough choices. 

The Governor of the State of New Jersey, my friend, Chris Christie, said last year, “Leadership today in America has to be about doing the big things."

When given the opportunity to lead on issues concerning levels of spending, debt and deficits, I urge President Obama to join with us in doing the big things to make sure that we can get our fiscal house in order:  A glide path back toward fiscal responsibility, toward balancing our budget over time.  We need to restore that fiscal discipline in Washington, instead of choosing the fiscally perilous path of more spending, larger annual deficits and mounting debt.  The next generation will have to pay back this debt. It is a tremendous burden on young people and it will sap our strength in the continuing competition of the United States with nations around the world including, for example, China and India.

I opposed the President’s request for an additional $1.2 trillion in spending.  I hope that we can work together with the Administration on this fundamental issue, the issue that confronts the Nation of fiscal responsibility. May the United States be restored to fiscal responsibility so that future generations might succeed as generations have succeeded generation in and generation out, the great promise of the American Nation.

Congressman Leonard Lance represents New Jersey’s Seventh District in the United States Congress.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces 2018 Summer Camps

February 20, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE—The New Jersey Youth Symphony announced today that it will hold two summer camps, Orchestral Camp from June 24 until July 7 and Junior Winds Camp from July 30 until August 3, at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Campers can take advantage of a 5% tuition discount by registering before the Early Registration deadline on June 1, 2018. For more information visit ...

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, etc.

Remember those book and DVDs and other materials borrowed from the Berkeley Heights Public Library before it closed? It's time to return them.

Staff will be at the Municipal Courtroom/Council Chambers at 29 Park Ave. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 to accept them. Enter through the glass door, using the stairs by the Police Department.

For more information, email ...

2018 Gov. Livingston Highlander Softball Clinic Set for March 19

Come join and learn from the 2017 Union County Softball Champion Gov. Livingston coaches and varsity players on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Activities will include the following fastpitch softball skills:

Batting Techniques
Throwing Mechanics
Base Running

Who: Children grades 1-7 of any skill level or ability

Where: Gov. Livingston High School, 175 ...

Mike Zuko at Salem Roadhouse Cafe

Raised on a diet of The Beatles, Buddy Holly and The Doors, Michael Zuko was exposed first hand to the thrilling music of the legendary 70s NYC club scene. Zuko and the band show a skilled singer-songwriter who is backed by solid musical talent, bringing original, fresh and intelligent lyrics to the stage. A true entertainer, Mike engages the audience fully and leaves them wanting more. Mike and ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...