McConnell blunders on debt ceiling
As a practical matter, Congress has to raise the debt ceiling if they overspend. It is like having one of those credit cards where you can go past your limit. Once you do that, you may regret spending so much, but you have top still pay off the credit card. The only difference with Congress, is they never regret over-spending.
The Debt Limit is supposed to be a safety measure to prevent excessive spending, but it is more of a joke than a real barrier. The only negative consequence is that the two major parties have to embarrass themselves periodically by publicly voting to raise the limit.
And even in that, Congress is discussing the idea of shedding their fiscal responsibilities by not having a debt limit – or allow the President to waive it. That would be consistent with Congress’ not producing a budget, no longer having to vote on their own pay increases and creating entitlement programs that must be funded. The House — which is the primary manager of federal spending — has totally abrogated its constitutional responsibilities.
Addressing the need to increase the Debt Ceiling as become the latest clown act in the congressional circus.
Back in October, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proclaimed that the Republicans in the Senate would no longer support the raising of the Debt Ceiling. It would have to be raised, but McConnell declared that the Democrats would have to do it on their own – and the only method was through the Reconciliation process.
At the time, I wondered how McConnell was going to prevail. It did not seem like a workable strategy.
Weeell … it did not take long before McConnell had to start to cave. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to take the bait. He challenged McConnell to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States for first time ever.
Schumer did nothing until it was too late to use Reconciliation – which takes time on the legislative clock. At that point, the point of default could not be avoided unless McConnell put some Republicans on raising the Debt Ceiling. Which he did — only advancing the Debt Ceiling for a few weeks, to mid-December.
With the new deadline approaching, McConnell must have realized that Schumer would put him into the same box … again. Consequently, McConnell made no more threats, no more pronouncements that the Democrats will have to go it alone.
Since Congress has little to no choice in terms of raising the Debt Ceiling, McConnell’s earlier gambit made no sense. It was a fumble by a guy who has a well-deserved reputation for being a shrewd legislative leader.
Despite McConnell’s mistake, I think the cheap shots from Trump and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Green against McConnell are not beneficial to anyone but the Democrats.
That, of course, leave the real issue unresolved – Congress’ habit of overspending.
So, there ‘tis.