As a student of Texas history, I remember that in 1836 the Army of the Republic of Texas was vastly outnumbered and outgunned and Sam Houston retreated repeatedly until he could fight on ground of his own choosing. Although it finally paid off when he won victory at San Jacinto, the people of Texas were furious with him for his refusal to fight until the last minute. Sam Houston asked for one last chance, and Texas gave it to him.
Speaker Boehner personally asked me to give him 90 days to negotiate dramatic spending cuts with the Senate that will get us on track to balance the budget in ten years. My highest priority is to balance the budget, and Speaker Boehner asked for these 90 days because it also gives him the strongest possible leverage to negotiate spending cuts with Democrats who would otherwise spend us into bankruptcy. This is why I voted today – unhappily and reluctantly – to extend the debt ceiling for 90 more days. We need to trust our leader and give him this small window to prove whether or not he can make good on his promise. You hired me to use my best judgment, and in my judgment, Speaker Boehner is in the same position as Sam Houston.
House conservatives are America’s last hope to get us off our current path to certain bankruptcy. Congressman Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, told me today that this 90-day extension is absolutely essential to give him time to prepare a budget that will balance in 10 years. I am determined to break the cycle of spending borrowed money that will have to be repaid by our kids and grandkids. If we do not have an agreement with the Senate that puts us on track to balance the budget within 10 years, I will vote to shut down the government when this new extension expires on May 19 and do whatever else it takes to break the federal government’s addiction to spending money we do not have.
Sam Houston needed one last chance to make good on his promises, and I wanted to give Speaker Boehner that chance as well. House Republicans are like the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, and we need to stand together for our conservative principles. I did not want to be the guy who broke formation and cause our shield to collapse at this crucial moment. The final showdown will be in 90 days.