Yesterday, the national debt surpassed $15 trillion dollars, leaving the United States with one of the highest public debt to GDP ratios in the world and adding to the uncertainty that is preventing our economy from growing. President Obama’s policies have added $4.4 trillion to the national debt, and he continues to press for more failed stimulus spending. Now more than ever, we need to get our fiscal house in order and manage down our debt. That is why both parties in the House are committed to enact a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, and we will vote tomorrow to ensure that Washington cannot continue to max out the nation’s credit card. It’s time for the President and his party to stop playing political games and work with us to get our fiscal house in order, grow the economy and get people back to work.
Today In History: In 1869, the Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas, is inaugurated. When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom, and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface. Consequently, fewer than 500 ships navigated it in its first full year of operation.
Birthdays: Speaker Boehner, Paul Lindsay, Chris Stirewalt, Lorne Michaels, Ryan Braun, and Leslie Bibb
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ...
State Of Play: In Under 3 Years President Obama Has Added Over $4.4 Trillion To The Debt
Video Flashback: Senator Obama Calls Adding $4 Trillion To The Debt Is “Irresponsible.”
• Reality Check: Since taking office, President Obama has added over $4.4 Trillion To The Debt
President Obama’s Economic Policies Have Failed To Lower Unemployment and Caused The Debt To Soar. The national debt surpassed $15 trillion for the first time on Wednesday, according to the Treasury Department, and Republicans are seizing on the occasion to pin the blame on President Obama. ... House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pointed out that $4.4 trillion in debt had been added since Obama took office. "Our skyrocketing debt burden is not just bad luck; it is the predictable outcome of President Obama’s policies," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said. The Hill
• More Stimulus Spending Isn’t The Answer: President Obama’s Policies Have Added Over $4.4 Trillion To The Debt, However Unemployment Has Remained Above 8.5% For The Past 32 Months
Chairman Ryan: Instead Of Tackling The Challenges Before Us, President Obama Is Pursuing Policies That Make Matters Worse. It's official: The federal debt has hit $15 trillion, the U.S. Treasury Department reported today. The official number: $15,033,607,255,920.32. Republicans quickly pounced on President Obama for the red ink ... Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, said, "Today marks an infamous day in American history." "This debt is hurting not only our economy today, but will result in our children and our grandchildren experiencing a diminished future," Ryan said. "And the president -- rather than tackling this challenge, rather than facing up to our debt -- is pursuing policies that are making matters worse." USA Today
State of Play (2): Blue Dogs Throw Their Support Behind The BBA
Blue Dogs Come Out In Support Of Bipartisan BBA. The conservative-Democrat Blue Dog Coalition officially endorsed the House Republican balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, breaking with Democratic Party leaders and the White House. The support from the 25-member bloc keeps GOP hopes alive that the measure, scheduled for a final vote Friday, could gain the two-thirds support necessary to pass. The Hill
• House Dem: The Public Isn’t Looking For Democrat Leaders In The House To Take A Partisan Stand. “Quite frankly, it sounds like most of the Democratic leadership is voting against this amendment. That’s unfortunate,” said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah.) “It’s not what the public is looking for, collectively. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We should come together and take steps to get the country back on the appropriate path.” Politico
The Economy: Senate Majority Leader Reid’s Home State Paper Blasts His Comments On Regulation and Job Creation
Nevada Ed Board: Senator Reid’s Wrong, Regulations Do Kill Jobs. In Harry Reid's world, the private sector is hiring and illegal immigrants don't work in construction. So it's not surprising that the Senate majority leader would use a Tuesday floor speech to declare that regulations don't kill jobs. “My Republican friends have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do the broad economic harms they claim," said Sen. Reid, D-Nev. "That's because there aren't any." Only three weeks ago, a Gallup poll of small business owners found that complying with government regulations is the most important problem they face today. The budgets of federal regulatory agencies have increased 16 percent since 2008, and their workforce has grown by 13 percent in that time. ... the Obama administration's moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has cost tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost commerce. ... New and expanded regulations don't encourage job creation. Reducing the cost of regulation by slashing the existing bureaucracy and blocking new rules would help create jobs. That's how things work in Nevada, anyway. Apparently, things look different from inside the Beltway. The Las Vegas Review-Journal
• ICYMI - Watch Leader Reid’s Outrageous Comments HERE
VA GOP Delegation Calls On The Obama Administration To Reverse The Ban On Offshore Drilling Off The Coast Of Virginia. Virginia's entire Republican congressional delegation has asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reverse last week's decision to keep in place a ban on offshore drilling off Virginia's shores. Virginia was excluded from the recently released five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, despite bipartisan support from state leaders. "Given the broad support … it is astonishing that you have put forward a five-year plan that locks up Virginia's coastal waters from future offshore energy development — directly ignoring the resolve of the majority of Virginians on this issue," reads a letter sent to Salazar from the congressmen. "Now, because Virginia is not included in the recent released proposed plan, it will be years until Virginia may once again realize the possibility of offshore energy development — and the thousands of jobs that could be created as a result," the letter adds. The letter was signed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, and Reps. Robert J. Wittman, R-1st, Scott Rigell, R-2nd, J. Randy Forbes, R-4th, Robert Hurt, R-5th, Robert W. Goodlatte, R-6th, Morgan Griffith, R-9th, and Frank R. Wolf, R-10th. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Emails Show Solyndra and Its Investors Were Far From Passive Recipients, DOE Thinks Politically Before It Thinks Economically. In the two years preceding its collapse, Solyndra and its biggest investor aggressively asserted themselves in dealings with the Obama administration, pushing Energy Secretary Steven Chu to visit the company’s headquarters to help it raise private money and later suggesting it would file for bankruptcy if the Energy Department rejected its proposed rescue plan. Executives associated with the California solar panel company also privately described Energy Department officials as more concerned with appearances than with sound business decisions. “The DOE really thinks politically before it thinks economically,” a Solyndra board member wrote in December to George Kaiser, an Obama fundraiser whose family funds owned a third of the company. At another point, an investment adviser to Kaiser wrote in an e-mail: “DOE is willing to accommodate Solyndra . . . but they appear to be concerned about ‘looking bad.’ ” ... The new documents depict Solyndra and its investors as far from passive recipients of the Energy Department’s money. Instead, they show executives making demands, striking tough bargains and not shying from criticism of the agency that was fueling the company’s growth. The Washington Post
• Editorial: The Solyndra Deal Seems To Have Much More To Do With Politics and Campaign Cash Than Green Energy. The White House decision to back a California-based maker of advanced solar panels with a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 looks seedier by the day. By all appearances, this deal and subsequent debacle had more to do with campaign cash and hoodwinking voters than it did with green energy. ... The private sector is much better than the government at commercializing technology. Green energy, and America's competitiveness in the green energy field, can be advanced with government support for research and even for early-stage projects that put science into operation. Keep in mind, as we discuss elsewhere on this page, that the nation desperately needs to curb its deficit spending. If we're going to make these investments, they have to be done smartly, carefully — and they can't be based on politics. From George Kaiser to the post-election layoffs, Solyndra is exploding on the Obama administration. The Chicago Tribune
It Isn’t What It Used To Be: President Obama’s Decision On The Keystone XL Pipeline Highlights A Change In The Democratic Party. The only force out there that can create real jobs over the longer term is the strongest private economic growth the U.S. can muster. The past three years of a Democratic administration's economic policies have the U.S. mired in a growth rate rotating like a forgotten flywheel around 2%. America's workers, no matter the color of their collars, desperately need a higher economic growth rate than decisions such as the delay on Keystone are going to give them. The Keystone shuffle should make clear to many middle-class workers that this is no longer their fathers' Democratic Party. The Wall Street Journal
ICYMI – Video: The 2nd Installment of Snapshot of the Leader. Watch it HERE