Conservative Action Project

March 17, 2023

The United States has already reached its statutory debt limit. We commend the House Freedom Caucus for its Shrink Washington, Grow America framework that, as conditions for considering supporting a debt-ceiling increase, calls for significant cuts to current spending, long-term caps on future spending, and major policy changes and reforms to the wasteful, woke, and weaponized federal bureaucracy. As you explore whether or not to increase the debt ceiling, we urge you to adhere to the following principles.

Negotiate. President Biden has asserted that he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling—that it must merely be increased an enormous amount without anything else in return. This is unconscionable, given the amount of debt we are already saddling onto future generations of Americans and the exorbitant and harmful level of interest payments with which current taxpayers are already burdened. Just as a bank would not repeatedly raise someone’s credit card limit without conditions, so too must Congress not continually raise the debt ceiling without commensurate spending reductions and reforms.

Fixed Dollar Amount. Some have suggested that the debt ceiling should be suspended—i.e., that there should be no debt ceiling for a certain period of time. This is also outrageous. Just as a bank would never eliminate a credit card limit for a customer who repeatedly reaches his or her credit limit, so too must Congress not be so irresponsible with the nation’s finances. Any negotiated increase in the debt ceiling must be a fixed dollar amount.

Now and the Future. Any negotiated increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by substantial reductions in federal spending now—in the current fiscal year—AND in each of the subsequent nine fiscal years, at a minimum. The spending reductions must be real (as opposed to accounting gimmicks) and very difficult to stop, once enacted into law.

Discretionary and Direct Spending. Any negotiated spending reductions to accompany a debt ceiling increase must come from both discretionary and direct (a.k.a. “mandatory”) spending accounts.

Defense. While any negotiated discretionary spending reductions should come from as many parts of the federal budget as possible, any cuts to outdated, harmfully bureaucratic, or “woke” spending in the Defense Department should, to the greatest extent possible, be transferred into national security accounts aimed at meeting the realities of the moment, such as repelling the growing threat of China.

Social Welfare Payments. While any negotiated direct spending reductions should come from as many so-called “entitlement” programs as possible—from Medicaid for non-poor people, to welfare without work, to long-term housing—we encourage you to avoid any reductions to American citizens’ Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits in this particular negotiation.

Proportional. Any negotiated increase in the debt ceiling must be proportional to the level and timing of the accompanying spending reductions. A large increase in the debt ceiling must not be paired with small, meaningless spending reductions or with spending reductions of any size that do not start in year one or substantially take effect in the first few years.

Freedom. Every dollar of federal spending is not the same as every other. We encourage you to focus on reducing spending on agencies, programs, and authorities that undermine the God-given freedoms and traditional values of the American people.

Structural Reforms. With or without any accompanying increase in the debt ceiling this year, you may also want to consider structural reforms to how the United States manages its debts and regulations, such as legislation to clarify that the United States Treasury will first and always pay the principal and interest on U.S. debt when the debt limit is reached, and legislation to require congressional approval for proposed regulations that would have an economic impact of at least $100 million.

Take Your Time. The supposed end-dates to the Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” upon reaching the debt limit seem to frequently line up with the starts of significant congressional recesses. Since this apparent trend is likely not a coincidence, Congress should take the time it needs to get this negotiation right, in accordance with the above principles, and not feel pressured to meet any fabricated deadlines driven by Wall-Street scare tactics.

Continuing on the federal government’s current fiscal trajectory would be cruel to the American people, including those not yet born. We hope you will realize and lean into the grandeur of this moment and work to implement fiscal solutions that are truly meaningful and lasting, so that the nation’s public debt does not keep increasing and that hitting the debt ceiling does not continue as a regular practice of the federal government.

Thank you for your consideration, and please let us know how we can help you in this great endeavor.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Chairman, CNP Action, Inc.
The Honorable Paul S. Teller, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Advancing American Freedom
The Honorable Tony Perkins
Family Research Council
The Honorable Jim DeMint
Chairman, Conservative Partnership Institute
Member, US Senate (SC 2005-2013)
Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund
David N. Bossie
Citizens United
William L. Walton
The Bill Walton Show
Resolute Protector Foundation
The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Chief Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan (1987-1988)
Ed Corrigan
Vice Chairman, Conservative Action Project
President & CEO, Conservative Partnership Institute
David Bozell
The Honorable Morton C. Blackwell
The Leadership Institute
Star Parker
President & Founder
Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE)
Marty Dannenfelser
Vice President for Government Relations and Coalitions
Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE)
The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
White House Advisor
President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)
Bob Carlstrom
AMAC Action
Lisa B. Nelson
Chief Executive Officer
American Legislative Exchange Council
Thomas E. McClusky
Greenlight Strategies, LLC
Terry Schilling
American Principles Project
Myron Ebell
Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli, II
Senior Fellow
Center for Renewing America
The Honorable Mary Vought
Executive Director
Senate Conservatives Fund
L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
Lori Roman
ACRU Action Fund
Tom Jones
American Accountability Foundation
Alfred S. Regnery
Republic Book Publishers
Chad Connelly
Founder and President
Faith Wins
Scott T. Parkinson
Vice President for Government Affairs
Club for Growth
Cleta Mitchell, Esq.
Senior Legal Fellow
Conservative Partnership Institute
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council
The Honorable Bob McEwen
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Ohio
Andrew Roth
State Freedom Caucus Network
The Honorable Scott Walker
Young America’s Foundation
Karen England
Capitol Resource Institute
Darrel W. Johnson
Attic Corp
Brigitte Gabriel
Chairman and CEO
ACT For America
Dr. Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Corstet LLC
Dr. Virginia Armstrong
National Chrm., Law & Worldview Program
Eagle Forum
Kristen A. Ullman
Eagle Forum
The Honorable George K. Rasley Jr.
Managing Editor
Lee Beaman
Beaman Ventures
Mallory Staples
State Freedom Caucus Network
Nick Kerin
State Director, Pennsylvania
State Freedom Caucus Network
Collin Moseley
State Director, Illinois
State Freedom Caucus Network
Judson Phillips
Tea Party Nation
Evan Newman
State Director, South Carolina
State Freedom Caucus Network
Blake Bassham
Legislative Director, Georgia
State Freedom Caucus Network
Lt. Col. Darin L. Gaub (ret)
Co-founder and National Spokesman
Restore Liberty
Allen Hebert
American-Chinese Fellowship of Houston
Sean Noble
American Encore
Art Ally
Timothy Partners, Ltd.
Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer
Presidential Historian
Richard A. Viguerie
American Target Advertising
Kelly M. Kullberg
Senior Fellow
American Association of Evangelicals (AAE)
Melvin Adams
Noah Webster Educational Foundation
David B. Kullberg
Executive Director
Christians for A Sound Economy (CASE)
Sandy Rios
Director of Governmental Affairs
American Family Association
Ron Pearson
Executive Director
Conservative Victory Fund
The Honorable James C. Miller III
Budget Director for President Reagan, 1985-1988
Seton Motley
Less Government
Tim Throckmorton
Lifepointe Ministries
Elaine Donnelly
Center for Military Readiness
Jessie Rubino
State Director, Wyoming
State Freedom Caucus Network
Tom DeWeese
American Policy Center
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
60 Plus Association
James L. Martin
60 Plus Association
Kevin Freeman
NSIC Institute
The Honorable Gary L. Bauer
American Values
Connie Hair
State Director, Louisiana
State Freedom Caucus Network
Paavo Ensio
Universal Minerals Group
Gerard Kassar
State Chairman
NYS Conservative Party
Susan Carleson Currer
The Carleson Center for Welfare Reform
Tim Macy
Gun Owners of America
Mario Navarro da Costa
Director, Washington Bureau
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Robert K. Fischer
Meeting Coordinator
Conservatives of Faith
William W. Pascoe, III
Our Man in Washington
Tea Party Patriots Action
The Honorable Peter J. Thomas
The Conservative Caucus
Richard Hayes
State of Texas
Suanne Edmiston
State Director, Arizona
State Freedom Caucus Network
Kay R. Daly
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Joan Holt Lindsey
Lindsey Communications
Eric Georgatos
Executive Producer
Maria Nate
State Director, Idaho
State Freedom Caucus Network
Charles J. Cooper
Assistant Attorney General, President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)
Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
Dr. Jerry A. Johnson
President (2013-2019)
National Religious Broadcasters
Rod D. Martin
Founder & CEO
Martin Capital, Inc.
Guillermo J. Aragon
Chief Strategy Officer
Martin Capital, Inc.
Christina Murphy, Esq.
The Martin Foundation
Lourdes Cosio
Campaign for the American Future

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