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Letter to the Editor: Citizens deserve better; raising debt ceiling a raw deal

This week, Washington lawmakers agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a vague promise to slow discretionary spending increases.

We deserved better.

In July, the House passed the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, a responsible solution that combines immediate and future spending cuts with enforceable spending caps and would send a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for approval. This was the only proposal that would have permanently corrected Washington's spending habits. Yet Congress again avoided responsibility, blocking and later abandoning the proposal.

As Treasurer, I know that the only way to fix a problem of this magnitude is to balance the budget. North Dakota and 48 other states are required to balance their budget every year, and I expect our federal government to do the same. One of the most alarming aspects of this deal is the threat it poses to our national security. Under this deal, the Department of Defense will be forced to absorb a cut of around $350 billion, and a failure to enact the recommendations of the so-called Congressional "Super Committee" established in the Act would trigger additional defense cuts that could bring this total to $1 trillion over the next decade. These cuts would certainly be felt at our Air Force Bases in Grand Forks and Minot. This is a reckless plan that demands our military foots the bill for the bailouts, stimulus plans, new health care entitlements, and earmarks that have dominated the Washington landscape in recent years.

As the proud mother of two U.S. sailors, I understand that there is a balance between getting our nation back on track fiscally and ensuring that our federal government fulfills its most basic Constitutional duty to provide for the common defense.

This deal fails us on both accounts.

Kelly Schmidt

North Dakota State Treasurer

President, National Association of State Treasurers