When Congressional leaders and the White House agreed on a deal to raise the debt limit ceiling, most people were unhappy with it. Democrats hated it because the deal didn’t include tax increases. Republicans, by and large, hated it because it didn’t enact enough meaningful cuts and did nothing to reform entitlements. But there was one reason to hate the deal that drew widespread agreement on both sides of the aisle: the creation of a super committee that would be tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reductions by late November. The rationale for opposition to the super committee was in part that there have been more than a dozen committees, panels, and commissions to do similar things that have never born fruit. Why would this one be any different?
It won’t be, and U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a liberal firebrand and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, proved it by announcing his intention to use his appointment to the super committee to redistribute wealth.
By now you’ve heard that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) was on NBC’s "Meet The Press" yesterday morning and tried to lay the blame for the decision by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to downgrade our nation’s credit rating on the Tea Party. I posted the video clip earlier here if you haven't seen it.
Others have been attempting to blame the Tea Party as well. For instance, Democrat National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said of John Kerry’s assertion, “truer words [have] never been spoken,” and went on to call the Tea Party “tyrants.”
President Obama’s political mastermind David Axelrod said “this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade.”
Today, on NBC’s Meet The Press, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) blamed the decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade America’s credit rating on the Tea Party. This is about as asinine a statement as you can get. Kerry, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the rest of their ilk wanted to raise the debt limit ceiling with a “clean” bill that would not have cut spending. S&P warned doing so would result in a credit rating downgrade. It is because of the Tea Party and its supporters that we got any cuts at all.
Kerry: “I believe this is without question the Tea Party downgrade. This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered even the will of many Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal, to do $4.7 trillion or $4 trillion, have a mix of reductions and reforms in social security, Medicare, Medicaid, but also recognize that we needed to do some revenue.”
As is often the case with closed door negotiations, details leak after the fact. Such is the case with the parties involved in the discussions to raise the debt limit ceiling. While many have complained about President Obama’s leadership, or lack-thereof, this report by Molly Hooper over at The Hill is really quite telling. According to sources, Republican and Democrat negotiators asked President Obama to leave the room. Not just any old room though, this was in the White House.
“GOP aides and lawmakers, speaking on background, portrayed Boehner as the calm negotiator who repeatedly exasperated President Obama.” (Molly K. Hooper, “How John Boehner Escaped Disaster,” The Hill, 8/3/11)
I just finished a piece on how U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spent her weekend and was turning my attention towards things I actually get paid to do, when I saw this report from Mary Bruce over at ABC News…
“As the debt ceiling stalemate continues, President Obama will take a break from the ongoing deficit negotiations today to focus on the Hispanic community when he addresses the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.” (Mary Bruce, “The Presidential Planner: Obama Courts Latino Voters,” ABC News, 7/25/11)
On Saturday evening, I was at Brabo enjoying a cocktail, preparing to take a seat with friends and have dinner. As we sat in the small bar, in walked U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), accompanied by her security detail.
Now, before I go further, I am not about to take issue with an elected official and national political figure going out for dinner and enjoying a Saturday evening. However, it did strike me as odd, given the timing. I did tweet about the encounter, and noted at the time that while the country faces a “supposed financial Armageddon”, Pelosi is dining at a fairly upscale restaurant, rather than working to solve the potential crisis.
Pelosi wasn’t hashing out an agreement over dinner with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), or even strategizing with one of her colleagues from her own party.
Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post this morning filed a report saying House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), came to an agreement over the weekend on raising the debt ceiling, but the White House rejected the plan.
“A Republican aide e-mails me: ‘The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan. A short-term increase (with cuts greater than the increase), combined with a committee to find long-term savings before the rest of the increase would be considered. Sen. Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House and the President said no.’” (Jennifer Rubin, “White House Stokes Debt-Ceiling Crisis,” The Washington Post, 7/25/11)
Back in February I wrote this piece about a then-looming government shutdown coming courtesy of do-nothing Senate Democrats. I’ll recap the main thrust so you don’t have to go link-surfing: at the same time Democrats were thinking of everything they could to pin blame on Republicans if the government were to shut down, Democrats were completely incapable of any leadership. An example:
“Under Republican leadership, the House has cast over 140 votes so far this year. The last came on February 19th at 4:30 in the morning. The Senate, run by Democrats? 25 votes, the last being February 17th at 8:30 in the evening.”
Thinking more about Democrat National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine’s proclamation today that the Democrat Party is the “Results Party,” I can’t help but wonder. We can agree to disagree about what results the Democrats have produced since taking control of Congress in January 2007 and the whole of government in January 2009. The election in November will answer that question.
What remains to be seen is what Democrats will do in the future if they are allowed to hold on to power. Specifically, what will Democrats do about runaway deficits and a national debt that by all accounts is unsustainable? Will they continue to spend our country into oblivion as they have the past few years with pork-laden stimulus packages, government takeovers like in health care, and more bailouts? Will they simply whitewash the mushrooming debt with yet more debt ceiling increases on the backs of the so-called wealthy with higher taxes? The answer is likely yes.
No, this isn’t the kind of fear-mongering that President Obama engaged in earlier saying if his government-run health care plan doesn’t pass the government will go bankrupt. While that was a startling, last-ditch effort to save ObamaCare and financially insane statement, the real problem is that national debt has now topped the national debt limit. When the dept exceeds the debt limit, the U.S. is in default and is unable to borrow any more money.
The immediate problem is raising the debt ceiling. Why is it a problem? Because the Democrats tried to raise the debt limit by $1.8 trillion to save themselves the embarrassment of having to raise it again next year when they are running for reelection.
With Democrats in complete control and command of the government, the country is without real leadership in this time of crisis.