he powers given to the House of Representatives by the U.S. Constitution put the new Republican House in the driver’s seat on fiscal issues. The U.S. Constitution requires House approval before even a penny of federal funds can be spent. This means that the House alone has the absolute and unquestioned power to ensure a balanced budget by throttling new spending, even if the Senate and president are united in the cause of higher federal spending. Ironically, even most congressmen act as if they are unaware that all federal spending must be approved by the House of Representatives.
Of course, an end to deficits remains unlikely because Republicans have controlled the House for two years and have yet to insist upon a balanced budget through spending cuts. To the contrary, House Republicans approved spending for fiscal 2012 and 2013 that will result in deficits in the $1 trillion range, even as they blamed Obama for the reckless spending.
And House Republican leadership appears to be sticking to the same game plan. House Speaker and Republican leader John Boehner started the trillion-dollar deficit sell-out meme on November 7, telling ABC News, “The American people have spoken. They have reelected President Obama and they have again reelected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. If there is a mandate in yesterday’s results, it is a mandate for us to find a way to work together in the solutions to the challenges we all face as a nation.”
Compromise and bipartisanship has a bad reputation on the political Right, often meaning something akin to “sell-out” when it concerns government spending. And that’s how it’s worked out in recent decades. But the right type of compromise — the method of compromise put into the U.S. Constitution — would put the United States back on a sustainable fiscal path.