Taking the national debt limit hostage has become a Republican Party pastime. The rules are simple: When Republicans are in power, they pass budget-breaking tax cuts aimed at the wealthy and the corporate, aka the people who fund the Republican Party as an ongoing concern. When Republicans are not in power, they feign outrage over the deficits those actions produced and declare that the real problem here is that too many schoolchildren are receiving food aid or that there’s been a government handout to a clean energy company that should rightly have gone to Ma and Pa Fossil Fuel.
It. Is. Exceedingly. Tedious. And impossible to take seriously. And, at this point, omnipresent.
The fight is on again. On Monday morning Democratic congressional leaders put forth a new stopgap plan to suspend the debt limit until Dec. 3, allowing the government to pay its bills for roughly a month past when the Treasury Department estimates the current ceiling will be hit, and would keep the federal government funded past the current Sept. 30 deadline until the same December date.
So, literally, a bare-bones stopgap to keep government out of crisis for a number of additional weeks rather than once again shutter things during the now-typical congressional bickering season.
Naturally, Republicans aren’t going along with it.
Under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republicans are insisting that they absolutely will let the government shut down rather than provide a single vote to stop it, and nobody’s being shy about making the party’s motive known: They want Democratic lawmakers to override Republican obstruction through reconciliation or other means, thus allowing Republicans on the midterm campaign trail to proclaim to the Trump base that it was the evil Democrats who kept the bills paid, and good, fine, nihilistic Republicans had nothing to do with it.
It was once a fairly ridiculous proposition. Now the premise of threatening to simply halt the flow of government checks for the sake of doing so has become a staple of Republican policy. If you want American government to function, the party bellows, elect those other guys. Whether it be funding infrastructure, battling a deadly pandemic, or keeping federal offices open according to the hours painted on the sides of the buildings, those are Democratic jobs. We’re here to be racist and break things.
If the party’s base weren’t primarily made up of authoritarian-minded conspiracy cranks, it would be a poor plan. In the Trump era it seems literally the only plan the devolved party can carry out.
Again, this is a wonderful opportunity for Democratic lawmakers that they should make full use of. McConnell and the rest of his party are now openly demanding Democrats use reconciliation rules to save the federal checkbook without Republican votes; by all means, do it. Not to push off the debt ceiling battle until December, or to spring, but to take it off the table entirely.
The Democratic reconciliation package could simply declare that the debt ceiling was now suspended until the year 3000. If you want to make it policy-based, write in that the debt ceiling shall be considered suspended until average atmospheric carbon dioxide levels drop back under the 400 parts per million deemed crisis levels by international climate scientists. We’re in a climate emergency, and we’re going to have to spend our way out of it either by rolling out new technologies or by building enormous new seawalls or lifting entire population centers to higher elevations.
Hell, write that the debt ceiling is hereby suspended until 95% of Americans are vaccinated against the deadly pandemic currently making a mess of things. You won’t be seeing that until the year 3000, either.
This is nothing but a tiresome game at this point, and if Republicans are now unified in proclaiming that they don’t intend to lift a finger to deal with it then take them at their word and solve the problem for them. Quit pretending there is some better nature inside Mitch McConnell that will make him reluctant to inflict harm on whatever percentage of Americans his party feels like inflicting harm on. Quit pretending that the party is anything but a collection of nihilists, conspiracy crackpots, authoritarians, and willing saboteurs. End this damn farce already.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.