America is fast approaching another needless emergency--the raising of the national debt ceiling. This impending crisis isn't an accident but a result of the inaction of various actors who refuse to confront fiscal reality, sit down, negotiate and make hard decisions for the sake of our nation's future. While all parties have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith, recent actions make clear to me that the Biden administration is determined to pursue an ideological agenda rather than confront the clear and present danger that debts and deficits pose to our nation.
Our national debt stands at nearly $31.5 trillion, or close to $95,000 for every man, woman and child, and represents 120% of our gross domestic product. Annual budgetary deficits have averaged $2.71 trillion since October 2019. Since Covid-19 began, we have added more than $8 trillion to the national debt. Despite explicit direction from Congress to pay down our debt in the Inflation Reduction Act, the administration seems more determined than ever to pervert that law and abuse existing authorities to increase spending.
When President Biden and I spoke before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act last summer, we agreed that the bill was designed to pay down our national debt and shore up America's energy security. It was designed to generate $738 billion in new revenue, with more than $238 billion dedicated to debt reduction, the first serious piece of legislation in more than two decades that the Congressional Budget Office estimated would have done that.
Yet instead of implementing the law as intended, unelected ideologues, bureaucrats and appointees seem determined to violate and subvert the law to advance a partisan agenda that ignores both energy and fiscal security. Specifically, they are ignoring the law's intent to support and expand fossil energy and are redefining "domestic energy" to increase clean-energy spending to potentially deficit-breaking levels. The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed. Ignoring the debt and deficit implications of these actions as the time nears to raise the debt ceiling isn't only wrong, it's policy and political malpractice.
I believe the only person who can rein in this extremism is Mr. Biden.
The first step is for the president to sit down with fiscally minded Republicans and Democrats to negotiate common-sense reforms to out-of-control fiscal policy. While we can all acknowledge that raising the debt limit is an absolute necessity and Republicans shouldn't threaten otherwise, are we seriously to believe there is no room to negotiate? Does the federal government operate so efficiently and effectively that there truly isn't a dollar of waste, fraud or abuse? Let's get serious.
The second step is for Mr. Biden to instruct his administration to implement the Inflation Reduction Act as written and stop redefining its credits and other subsidies. That alone would save the American taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars in needless spending.
Unless common-sense actions are taken now, not only will America's energy security be jeopardized, but we will soon approach a debt-ceiling calamity that is completely avoidable. What we must avoid is the typical Washington game in which Democrats attack Republicans and Republicans respond in kind. The American people are sick and tired of these games--and they should be.
Mr. Biden was elected to lead us all to solve problems. We can't allow them to be made worse by ignoring them. The president has the power, today, to direct his administration to follow the law, as well as to sit down with congressional leaders and negotiate meaningful, serious reforms to the federal budget. Failing to do so may score political points with left-wing partisans, but generations of Americans will ultimately pay the price. We must do better, and it starts with all of us working together and doing what is right for our nation.