The senator who cried out for the debt crisis


As President Biden scrambles for a world climate summit in Scotland, he leaves major legislative issues unresolved. A deal with the senses Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema reducing the expansion of the Biden-Sanders welfare state, at a nominal price of $ 3.5 trillion, remains elusive. There is no federal budget for fiscal year 2022, as the government is funded by an ongoing resolution until December 3. The House did not vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed in August, with President Nancy Pelosi fearing its approval would doom the Biden. Sanders proposal.

Then there is the raising of the debt ceiling, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calls “absolutely essential”. Despite his plea, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not started the budget reconciliation process, which allows Democrats to raise the debt ceiling themselves, thus avoiding a US default. on their financial obligations.

Instead, Mr Schumer insists that while Democrats run the Senate, Republicans must provide the votes to do so. He’s not even pleasant about it.

Consider what happened after October 6, when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led nine other GOP senators to join the 50 Democrats in voting to extend the debt ceiling until early December. The Kentucky Republican wanted to give Democrats enough time to use the reconciliation process for a lasting solution.

Mr. Schumer repaid the courtesy the next day with a scathing attack. “The Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I’m glad their trick didn’t work,” he told the Senate. Mr Schumer rejected the idea that Democrats should use reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling, saying it was a “long, convoluted and risky process” that was “simply unacceptable”. He also praised Democrats for “pulling our country off the edge of the cliff that Republicans have tried to push us”. Sitting behind Mr. Schumer, a stunned Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) covered his face and shook his head in embarrassment.

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Biden’s White House joined in the attacks, announcing Congress’ success in “putting a disastrous debt impasse behind us” and warning Republicans against “starting another confrontation that would put millions of people at risk. jobs ”.

What Mr. Schumer and the White House said was hypocritical nonsense.

On the one hand, it is entirely in Mr. Schumer’s power to use reconciliation. He just doesn’t want Democrats to officially vote against the Republican amendments that reconciliation allows. Nor does he want to nibble away precious time that he might otherwise spend on endorsing Mr. Biden’s controversial candidates or bringing in bills that could improve Democrats’ chances in the midterm elections. 2022.

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On the other hand, Mr. Schumer knows that he exaggerates the danger of indebtedness and that he only pretends to stick to principles. He voted against increasing the debt ceiling when Republicans held the presidency and the Senate.

While George W. Bush was President, Mr. Schumer voted three times against raising the debt ceiling – HJR 51 on May 27, 2003; S. 2986 on November 17, 2004; and HJR 47 on March 16, 2006. This came after Democrats forced the vote on eight politically sensitive amendments. Are we to believe that Mr. Schumer’s ethics got the better of him and that he regrets playing with the good faith and the credit of the nation while our troops were fighting in Iraq? Perish thought.

Mr. Schumer is not the only Democratic legislative hot dog. So-Sen. Biden and Representative Pelosi have also opposed increasing the debt ceiling on three occasions. Ms Pelosi also voted against an increase in the debt ceiling in June 2002 supported by MM. Schumer and Biden.

Democrats are happy to force Republicans to do the heavy lifting of raising the debt limit when the GOP is in charge. In 2006, for example, Mr. Biden defended his vote to let America default on its obligations by condemning the Bush administration’s “utter disregard for our nation’s financial future.” He said: “I refuse to be associated with the policies that have brought us to this point. He was joined by Senator Barack Obama

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from Illinois, who called the increased debt limit a “sign of leadership failure.” As President, Obama has taken a very different stance by signing nine debt ceiling suspensions or increases.

Now Mr Biden, Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer are calling on Republicans to do what Democrats have refused to do in the past. It is a cynical political maneuver on the part of the ruling party.

It’s not pretty that Democrats and Republicans are leaving it up to the majority party to raise the debt ceiling, with Republicans sometimes trading support for spending cuts. The system is not working as it should and both parties are responsible. Yet Mr. Schumer’s duplicity, combined with his morality, is a bad look. Just ask the Democratic Senator from Mountain State.

Mr. Rove helped organize the American Crossroads Political Action Committee and is the author of “The Triumph of William McKinley” (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

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