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April 19, 2023 03:24 PM UTC

Biden Rejects GOP Debt Limit Hostage Taking

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Washington Post reports today, President Joe Biden along with the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate have declared the GOP-controlled House’s demands in exchange for the next routine hike in the nation’s debt limit a nonstarter:

President Biden on Wednesday rejected a Republican plan to slash government spending and raise the debt limit, assailing the proposals as “wacko” notions that would cause a catastrophic government default.

Moments after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) discussed the GOP plan on the House floor, the president stood in a Maryland union hall, insisting that Congress pass a stand-alone bill to raise the debt limit — as Republicans did three times during the Trump administration…

McCarthy had delivered a speech on Wall Street on Monday, and Biden said, “he proposed huge cuts to important programs that millions of working- and middle-class Americans count on.” The president said the GOP proposal would result in cuts to the number of people who administer Social Security and Medicare, causing longer wait times; and higher costs for child care.

As Politico reports, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal is every bit the horror show forecast over the weekend, seemingly written to ensure Senate Democrats can’t possibly support it:

The GOP plan aims to repeal a swath of clean energy tax credits, in addition to yanking back tens of billions of dollars that Democrats included for IRS enforcement in their signature tax, climate and health care bill last year. The proposal would also end Biden’s pause on student loan payments and interest, block his student loan forgiveness plan and increase work requirements for “able-bodied adults without dependents” receiving SNAP benefits.

The question now is whether McCarthy even has the votes to pass this with his narrow House majority, which as a result of displeasure on both flanks he may not. If McCarthy can’t even get this plan out of his own chamber, obviously it’s a massive humiliation. But even if he does, McCarthy’s plan is DOA in the Senate and we’re back at proverbial square one.

Meanwhile, as The Hill reports, the ubiquitary centrist-branded “Problem Solvers Caucus” are at work on their own plan for a clean-ish debt ceiling hike, which could split the GOP and even attract Democratic support–combined with a special 2011-style “commission” to look at “responsible budget reform measures” outside the high-pressure environment of an impending debt ceiling deadline:

A “framework” of that proposal, released on Wednesday, reveals a bare-bones outline of the group’s fiscal wish list, featuring a suspension of the debt limit through the end of the calendar year — to stave off a government default while Congress negotiates its 2024 budget — and the creation of an outside commission designed to rein in deficit spending and reduce the country’s $31.5 trillion debt over the long haul.

At this point, it’s difficult to see McCarthy’s path forward to anything Republicans can characterize as a win. If in the worst case the nation does default and economic chaos ensues, McCarthy’s ill-advised brinksmanship is wholly to blame. If McCarthy makes a deal that Democrats can support, it could cost him his speakership via rebellion on his right flank. If the Senate and White House make an end run around McCarthy completely by brokering a deal outside his office, that’s nearly as bad for McCarthy personally.

Just like a decade ago, this manufactured crisis with real peril for the national economy goes on because Republicans with just enough power to cause the crisis want it to continue, and it can end as soon they want it to stop. The question of who gets the blame for any negative consequences begins and ends with this simple fact.


6 thoughts on “Biden Rejects GOP Debt Limit Hostage Taking

  1. McCarthy (and other House Republicans) agree that default is not an option. Some Republicans (2, I think) say they will not support ANY debt limit increase. Rep. Chip Roy & others in the Freedom Caucus say they will support a debt limit ONLY if there are first-year cuts in the budget and a long-range agreement to drive the federal debt down.  Democratic House members say they will not support such cuts.  Senate Democrats and Biden say they will not agree to such cuts or long-range agreements.

    I'm hoping someone with a better mind for logic puzzles than mine can find a solution. 


    1. Since Hamlet was already written close to about 425 (which just coincidentally also happens to be about the cumulative IQ of the entire House GOP caucus) years ago, doesn’t that undertaking seem like a shameful waste and misappropriation of monkey and typewriter resources?

      Besides, given ChatGPT and our other modern-day equivalent repositories of billions and billions of monkeys’ endless keyboard bangings, why do we even need any more monkeys typing anything?

      It’s past time to face the fact that the debt limit is a proven bad idea, at best an anachronism that should’ve been retired and put out to pasture long ago; same as all those unnecessary House GOPer monkeys.

      But, yeah, toss Kevin and the other monkeys a few bananas, I suppose.

  2. If you pass spending and revenue requirements, the Executive should not have to worry about needing to incur debt – that's a simple result of your other legislation. Eliminate the debt ceiling and let everyone fight over the budget bill.

  3. I am beginning to wonder if McCarthy could garner enough votes to raise the debt ceiling even if Biden gave him what he wanted, within reason. This group has accomplished nothing meaningful to date. They include a bunch of freaking chaos agents who he has emboldened. It's never enough for them, and they do love their stunts.

  4. Some day, in a better world, Congress will abolish the debt ceiling or at least tie it to GDP rather than have a sum certain ceiling.  But we're also a nation without universal health care coverage, so I'm not holding my breath.

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