House Republican Leader John Boehner
Coupling efforts to reduce America's debt and deficit with increases in the debt limit is a common-sense policy that was used under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton - and President Obama.
The American people know that Washington has a spending problem, and they won't support another increase in the debt limit without meaningful action to reduce spending and reform government.
The Congressional Budget Office tells us that the federal government will spend $640 billion more than it takes in this year. Over the next 10 years, CBO estimates we will borrow and spend $6.3 trillion more.
The American people know that our deficits and debt are hurting our economy and costing jobs. They want their elected leaders to take meaningful action to reduce spending.
Every major effort to deal with the deficit over the past 30 years has been tied to the debt limit. In 1985, President Reagan signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction bill, which included a debt limit increase. When President Bush reached a budget deal with a Democratic Congress in 1990, it included a debt limit increase. President Clinton reached similar agreements with a Democratic majority in 1993 and with a Republican majority on the balanced budget agreement of 1997.
While President Obama now insists he will not negotiate on including deficit-reduction measures with a debt-limit increase, that was certainly not always his position. The president worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction deal tied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011.
While the eventual result - the Budget Control Act - has flaws (especially the "sequester" that President Obama developed and insisted upon), it has actually reduced federal spending for the first time in decades.
There is no need for market-rattling showdowns or brinksmanship in the discussion this fall. The sooner President Obama starts to work with both parties to solve Washington's spending problem, the better it will be for our economy.
This issue isn't just about dollars and cents. Unless we deal with this spending problem honestly and forthrightly, our kids and grandkids are going to face a much dimmer future. And we simply won't have prosperity - today, or in the future - unless we address the massive deficits and debt that are hurting our economy and jeopardizing the American dream.
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House.