Rep. Tipton defends House GOP debt plan

A day after Rep. Scott Tipton and other House Republicans passed their own plan to cut spending and raise the nation’s debt limit, attention turned to a compromise endorsed by both of Colorado’s senators.

Unless Congress raises the debt limit, the country will not be able to pay its bills after Aug. 2.

President Barack Obama vowed to veto the House Republican plan, and Senate Democrats pronounced it dead on arrival.

But Tipton, R-Cortez, defended it Tuesday on the House floor.

“If we’ve spent more than we’ve taken in, we have to find ways to cut back,” Tipton said.

The “cut, cap and balance” plan requires large cuts that would limit federal spending to no more than 18 percent of the U.S. economy. Democrats alleged a cut that large can’t be accomplished without slashing Medicare.

The plan also would require Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires a balanced budget.

Tipton said 49 states live with a balanced budget, so Congress should, too. He called on his constituents to turn up the heat on Democrats.

“I hope that our American citizenry will rise to this challenge,” Tipton said. “We need to let the Senate of the United States and the president of the United States know that we will be holding them accountable.”

But best hope for a compromise Wednesday appeared to come from the Senate, where a bipartisan group of senators called the “gang of six” has earned the endorsement of about half their colleagues, including Colorado Democrats Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.

“This is a really positive development after several weeks of bad news and partisan bickering, where it looked like we wouldn’t be able to do more than kick the can down the road,” Udall said in a prepared statement.

The plan would cut $3.7 trillion out of the deficit over a decade, and the cuts would include the military and, eventually, Social Security.

It would cut tax rates but also roll back several popular tax breaks, such as the homeownership deduction.

Bennet said he would vote for it if given the chance.

“Although nobody is going to agree with every single piece of this, or any comprehensive plan, the ‘gang of six’s’ bipartisan proposal provides a path forward towards meaningful deficit reduction,” Bennet said in a news release.

Many House Republicans have said they will never vote for any plan that increases taxes, but Tipton has not gone that far.

“You’ve got to be cautious dealing with hypotheticals,” he told the Herald in a July 7 interview.

jhanel@durangoherald.com Herald Washington reporter Karen Frantz contributed to this report.

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