CNN's Acosta Derides Conservative Debt Ceiling Pledge as 'Body-Slam and Pile-Driver' Extreme

June 29th, 2011 6:08 PM

Apparently, a pledge to reduce the deficit and cap spending long-term and vote for a strict balanced budget amendment is an extreme measure. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, reporting on the conservative "Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge," quipped that "it's not exactly cut, cap, and balance. It may be more body-slam and pile-driver."

The pledge, sponsored by numerous grassroots conservative groups, entails signers promising to oppose an increase on the debt limits unless three conditions are met. The conditions are that the spending cuts must reduce the deficit "next year and thereafter," caps on spending must be instituted to bring about a balanced budget, and Congress must pass a balanced budget amendment.

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The amendment can only be passed "if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses."

The "extreme" petition's signers include Tea Party candidates but also some mainstream Republicans like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who promised to sign Wednesday afternoon.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 29 at 3:50 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

JIM ACOSTA, CNN correspondent: This has been a pretty interesting issue on the Republican side. Basically, up on Capitol Hill, one of the Tea Party favorites Jim DeMint had said if you don't sign what he calls the "Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge," he's not going to get behind you. And of course, he brings a whole lot of Tea Party support behind him. Well Mitt Romney, who is right now really the frontrunner in the GOP nomination battle, he's up on Capitol Hill today trying to line up Republican support behind his campaign. And he has said, and his campaign has said this afternoon that Romney will sign the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge.

You may be asking, what is that all about? Well basically, it's a pledge to not only reduce the deficit by a large amount in order to approve a debt ceiling hike, but also bring forward with that a cap on spending over a number of years in advance after a debt ceiling agreement is reached. And then also a balanced budget amendment. So it's really a three-fold approach that Republicans would like to see to bring the deficit under control. And it's not exactly cut, cap, and balance. It may be more body-slam and pile-driver.