The United States is currently $31 trillion in debt. This mind-blowing amount of debt jeopardizes our nation’s stability. Not only does it weaken our military, but it also risks every corner of our economy and government programs. Today, our debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 118.77%, far higher than the 70% benchmark that economists deem comfortable for a healthy economy. Left unchecked, our children and grandchildren face a future of reduced benefits and sharply increased taxes. 

Fortunately, levelheaded, pragmatic legislators came together to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The spending cuts and caps we’ve agreed to in the act over the next 2–6 years will cut $1.5–$2.1 trillion from the cumulative deficits over the next 10 years. In addition, the legislation implements new work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, aimed at getting Americans to work. It also implements permitting reform to reduce government red tape that has driven up energy and infrastructure prices and forces President Joe Biden’s hand to begin collecting student loan payments again — worth more than $5 billion per month alone. This deal brings Congress to work again and pass annual budgets by creating a new, across-the-board cut on government spending until a budget is passed.

Inaction on the debt ceiling was never a serious option. The United States has never defaulted on its debt. Doing so would cost millions of American families their jobs, increase prices on all goods, reduce economic behavior across the entire economy, tank Utahns’ 401ks and threaten our role as the leader of the free world. Furthermore, default could have destabilized the delivery of Medicare, Social Security, and veterans’ benefits to members of our communities. 

Here’s how Utah’s 4 congressmen voted on the debt ceiling bill
Sen. Mike Lee to offer amendment on Fiscal Responsibility Act

The reforms in the act are key conservative priorities. We forced President Biden to backtrack on his original refusal to negotiate, and we blew past many of his red lines on conservative policies. 

There are some loud opponents of the legislation from within both the Republican and Democratic parties who claim that the wins in this package were not robust enough to justify supporting it. But perfect bills are not possible in either single party or divided government, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to deliver a result with limited leverage that is a net positive for the nation — despite the fact that the Democrats control both the Senate and the White House — a feat many thought was impossible.

True, there are other provisions we would have loved to see included. But voting against conservative policy reforms for which we have been fighting for years simply because the bill doesn’t include every conservative policy reform is not a valid excuse. 

We are keenly aware that without tackling Social Security and Medicare, which make up nearly two-thirds of our federal spending, no bill will ever be “good enough.” However, this was a unique opportunity to reverse our nation’s debt culture and experience the first year in a decade in which government spending will decrease year over year. Thomas Jefferson said that “the ground of liberty is gained in inches.”

Not passing this legislation would weaken our position on the global stage and continue to allow the unchecked growth of discretionary spending. 

The truth is, voting against a debt ceiling deal will always be the safest option politically, but Utahns didn’t send us to Washington to take the easy way out. House Republicans have a responsibility to effectively govern, and we will continue to do so. 

Congressman Blake Moore represents Utah’s 1st District. Congressman Chris Stewart represents Utah’s 2nd District. Congressman John Curtis represents Utah’s 3rd District. Congressman Burgess Owens represents Utah’s 4th District.