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Statement by Newt Gingrich - On the Debt Ceiling, the Time for Talk Is Over

July 23, 2011

The effort to negotiate a giant deal on the debt ceiling in secret seems to have collapsed.

The establishment will now try to push the Republicans into giving President Obama a "clean" debt ceiling increase because "nothing else is possible in such a short time".

The Wall Street crowd who has received hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money will now demand the debt ceiling be raised "as the only responsible action."

President Obama will threaten to veto any short term debt ceiling increase and will "only accept" an increase which carries his spending beyond the election.

The correct conservative response is "BALONEY".

House Republicans have already passed the right long term solution.

"Cut, cap, and balance" is a serious long term step back to a balanced budget and a smaller government.

For obvious reasons the liberal Democrats in the Senate do not want to pass it.

Conservatives should now go to the states of the Democratic Senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and organize grassroots citizen campaigns to pressure them to vote.

They should also begin organizing a massive citizen's rally for September in Washington to focus the nation on this sound policy.

However, forcing "cut, cap and balance" through the Senate will take longer than the current debt ceiling will permit.

Therefore the House Republicans should pass common sense short term debt ceiling bills and put the burden on the Senate Democrats and President Obama to be the people who prefer a default crisis to common sense short term solutions.

For example, House Republicans could pass a "Greater Revenue Through More American Energy" bill. This bill would encourage oil and gas exploration both offshore and on federal lands that are not national parks or wilderness.

Washington controls about 85% of Nevada, a state with high unemployment. Surely half of Nevada could be explored for oil and gas (and for other minerals for that matter).

Washington controls more than two-thirds of Alaska. That is an area one and a half times the size of Texas.

Surely we could set aside some land for exploration and development in an area that large.

Joseph Mason of LSU estimates offshore developments of gas and oil in the Outer Continental Shelf alone would produce $110 billion in federal royalties and taxes in the pre-production phase next seven years.

A study by Quest Offshore estimated that opening up the Gulf of Mexico alone would be add about 130,000 jobs by the end of 2013."

It would be reasonable for House Republicans to agree to a $200 billion debt ceiling increase as part of an American Energy Bill.

Since a number of Democratic Senators have introduced bills calling for offshore development (Webb and Warner in Virginia, for example) this bill may attract significant Democratic support in the Senate.

This small bill strategy would buy several months for Republicans to push hard for passage of cut, cap and balance.

President Obama will threaten to veto these bills. But you have to ask yourself: Is he really prepared to be the first President in history to force a default on the United States?

In the end, the president has every reason to sign a short term extension if the alternative is a disaster.

Republicans should give him the opportunity to improve the economy, produce American energy, create jobs, reduce the deficit and avoid a default.

The time for talk is over.

It failed.

The time for legislative action has arrived.

Newt Gingrich, Statement by Newt Gingrich - On the Debt Ceiling, the Time for Talk Is Over Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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