House Democrats Playing Politics With The Debt Ceiling
Once again, the democrats are playing politics with peoples’ lives. Nevermind doing the right thing, or thinking about something other than destroying the Republican party. The political tango of the one big party in the District of Criminals continues for the corporate owned moos; meanwhile, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
From TheHill.com (and oops, I think they mean $14.3 TRILLION debt limit, not billion):
Dems pass buck on debt ceiling hike
Relegated to the minority, Democrats are hinting they might vote against raising the ceiling to force the GOP’s hand.
Democrats relegated to minority status in the House say Republicans are now the ones responsible for raising the federal debt ceiling and are hinting that they might vote against it to force the GOP’s hand.
“It is up to the majority to get this bill through; they can’t duck the responsibility,” Financial Service Committee ranking member Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told The Hill on Friday.
If Congress fails to raise the $14.3 billion debt limit this spring, the United States government will default on its debt, a scenario that could throw financial markets into chaos. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter to House Republican leaders last week warning that a debt default would result in “catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades.”
The mounting conflict over the debt ceiling has been portrayed as a battle between President Obama and Tea Party-backed fiscal conservatives, with the House GOP leadership trapped somewhere in the middle.
But rather than rallying to Obama’s side, House Democrats are remaining aloof. They say it is the GOP’s responsibility to raise the debt ceiling now that Republicans are the ones in charge of the chamber.
“I reject any attempt to shift the responsibility to the minority,” Frank said. “Don’t do us any favors.”
When asked if Democrats will whip members to pass the debt-ceiling increase as Obama has asked, a Democratic leadership aide told The Hill it is up to Republicans to get the bill through the chamber.
Republican leaders are on record as saying the debt ceiling must be raised, but whether they can get their members to go along with that remains to be seen. Their position is complicated by the GOP’s crop of 84 freshman lawmakers, many of whom ran on a strict platform of fiscal responsibility and risk being seen as sell-outs if they approve more federal debt.
A number of Tea Party-backed lawmakers, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), have already said there is no way they will vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who opposes raising the debt limit under any circumstances, predicted that most of the freshman Republicans will be “talked into” raising the ceiling once the vote arrives.
“It won’t take them very long to be unhappy. That’s why the real test is going to be those 80-some new members and how they are going to vote,” he said during an interview on Fox Business Network posted Monday. “And I [expect] they’re going to be talked into it — the majority will be talked into it — because they are going to get some promise they are going to cut back.”
In return for approving the ceiling increase, Republican leaders, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are pressuring the administration to agree to spending cuts or mandatory spending caps. On Friday, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) also said he would not vote to increase the ceiling without a budget cutting agreement.
GOP operatives are working to frame the issue as a failure of leadership by the president if he allows the debt to rise without taking action to reduce spending, GOP aides said.
But it is unclear whether Republican leaders will be able to leverage their power, since they know they can’t let the bill be defeated. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday acknowledged that the U.S. simply cannot be allowed to default.
Frank also said it would be unconscionable for the GOP to fail to raise the debt ceiling since it would have an immediate impact on U.S. troops in a time of war.