Tag Archives: debt ceiling

McConnell gets pilloried … by Trumpkins

Mitch McConnell, the man once mocked as “Moscow Mitch,” knows the danger of playing games of political chicken.

The U.S. Senate Republican leader didn’t want to engage in the game with Democrats, so he maneuvered his caucus into a position to favor raising the national debt ceiling while allowing Democrats to skate through with a simple Senate majority vote, rather than a 60-vote total that is usually required; hey, it’s parliamentary gamesmanship, man!

McConnell, though, is now getting pounded by the cultists who follow Donald Trump, the moron who doesn’t want compromise in any form.

Trump’s allies are trashing Mitch McConnell for reaching a deal with Democrats to avert a catastrophic debt-ceiling default (msn.com)

Don’t misunderstand me. I am no fan of Mitch McConnell. However, I do appreciate his keen knowledge of how the Senate works and how at times he can do the old political soft-shoe when needed.

He has done it again. The national debt ceiling will lift again. We’ll be able to avoid fiscal calamity. The Trumpkins can take their commitment to what passes for “principle” and stick it … somewhere.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What about the debt, lawmakers?

Congressional Republicans have this bizarre habit of backing themselves into corners from which they have difficulty exiting.

They are digging in once again on the issue of increasing the nation’s debt ceiling. U.S. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell — yeah, that guy — is threatening to shut ‘er down. He won’t back any effort by Democrats to increase the debt ceiling.

What does that mean? Total calamity, according to every serious economist on Earth. It would mark the first time the U.S. of A. has defaulted on its debt. It would throw the markets into total free fall. It would send a signal around the world that the United States no longer can be trusted to make good on its obligations.

Hey, is this what they call an “America first” priority?

It’s an “America last” notion, if you want my opinion on it. You didn’t ask for it, but I offered it anyway.

What are we going to do when the nation’s government funding expires at the end of the week? We had better beat some reason into the thick skulls of GOP lawmakers who don’t want to make many millions of Americans angry over their stubbornness.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hypocrisy rules within GOP

Senate Republicans such as Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas have gotten their shorts all knotted up over the debt ceiling increase pitched by their Democratic colleagues.

And yet they had no trouble voting to increase the debt ceiling during the four years that Donald J. Trump was seeking it from the White House.

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have mixed histories with debt-ceiling votes | The Texas Tribune

What gives? Why the change in heart? Oh, yeah. President Biden is a Democrat; Trump is a Republican. Politics has nothing to do with it, right? OK, let’s just say the answer is obvious: politics has everything to do with it.

Some Republicans kinda caved this week when they voted to allow a vote on whether to increase the ceiling. Cornyn was one of the GOP senators who went along with it. Cruz didn’t. He bitched about his colleagues surrendering to Democrats in a Senate floor speech.

Back to my question. Why was it OK to do it during the previous administration, but it isn’t OK now?

The GOP’s blatant partisanship and obstruction is so obvious.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘GOP’ takes new meaning

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attention, my friends in the Republican Party.

Your political organization, once known as the Grand Old Party, has acquired a new moniker. It’s called the Grubby Obstructionist Party.

Yes, the party that once was able to govern effectively working with Democrats in Congress and the White House, has become a party intent on furthering some nitwit political agenda.

The GOP has decided to block moves to bump up the debt ceiling. It won’t allow the nation to pay its bills. It is going to block President Biden’s Build Back Better legislative package — which would be paid out over several years. It is now threatening to shut down the government … again! Why? Because its intention is to do harm to a duly elected president.

Democrats are scrambling at this moment to figure out a way to work around their GOP colleagues, the same colleagues who saw no problem with boosting the debt ceiling when one of their guys was in the White House and when they controlled the legislative branch of government.

Now it’s changed. Except that it hasn’t really changed. The obligations are the same now as they always have been.

The Grubby Obstructionist Party — whose U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said the debt ceiling must be increased but won’t allow his Senate GOP caucus to be part of it — has shown itself to be unfit to govern.

Disgraceful.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

McConnell said … what?

(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell said it, but I still cannot believe I heard it with my own ears. The U.S. Senate Republican leader spoke about the need to raise the national debt limit, that it is essential for the nation to maintain its standing with creditors.

Then he said that it’s a “Democrat problem,” and that he wouldn’t support to raise the debt limit.

I heard it. I shook my noggin. I cannot believe that the Kentucky Republican would actually such a thing. But … he damn sure did.

McConnell is leading the Senate Republican caucus in its effort to obstruct anything and everything his Democratic colleagues want to do legislatively. He also has become something of a sworn enemy of President Biden, his one-time Senate friend and occasional ally.

Now he is playing craven politics with what should be a bipartisan effort. Democrats want to enact an infrastructure rebuilding plan. It costs trillions of dollars. Republicans are having none of it. They contend that it’s too costly, that it would pile on more debt.

Strange, yes? Yes, given that Biden’s immediate predecessor — a Republican — rang up the biggest annual budget deficits in history and piled on more debt than any president who came before him. The GOP caucus had no problem with that. Now, it does.

Except that the Senate GOP leader recognizes that the debt ceiling is an essential part of governing. However, he will not — or cannot — commit to doing what he knows he should do.

Mitch McConnell has become, without question (in my mind), the master of hypocrisy, duplicity and covering his own backside … to the detriment of the greater good.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s banish partisan stereotypes

There’s a common stereotype kicked around about Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans are hard-hearted; Democrats are squishy do-gooders.

I want to take on the GOP stereotype briefly here by calling attention to something U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas said about four of his Republican colleagues who voted recently against a package that include $15 billion in aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

You’ve heard of Harvey, yes? It blew in twice over the Texas coast, ravaging communities from the Coastal Bend to the Golden Triangle. Four of McCaul’s GOP colleagues voted “no” on the aid package because it sought to raise the debt limit ceiling.

One of the four happens to be my congressman, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Oh, Mac. I mean, really?

Here’s what McCaul said, according to Texas Monthly: “I don’t want to judge them,” McCaul said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “I judge myself and my conscience, and when I have people dying and hurting in my home state, it was my duty and my moral obligation to help them, and I felt that that vote was a vote of conscience to help people in my state and also now in Florida. I think that’s what Americans do, and I think it’s unconscionable to vote against something like that.” 

Actually, he did “judge them.” But that’s all right with me. Judge away, Rep. McCaul.

More from Texas Monthly: “I think having to raise the debt ceiling was the issue, and the fact is that Mick Mulvaney is the director of [the Office of Management and Budget], and he was a Freedom Caucus guy when he served with us, and he told us point blank that you could not appropriate disaster relief if you didn’t raise the debt ceiling, so we were stuck with that choice,” McCaul said. “What do you with that choice? Just stand on principle and vote ‘no’? And I question that principle. Or do you vote to help people back in your home state who are hurting really badly?”

Well said, Rep. McCaul.

So, let’s end the stereotyping.

Texans play politics with hurricane relief

Congress managed to cobble together a bipartisan spending relief package that is going to send $15 billion to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

It wasn’t unanimous, though. Indeed, of the 80 House members who voted against the package, four of them reside — get ready for this one — in Texas! Four members of Congress who live in the very state that suffered the grievous wind and flood damage voted “no” on the package.

Most disappointing of all for yours truly is that one of them is GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Thornberry’s no vote was because the Harvey relief was tied to increasing the debt ceiling — which the House and Senate had to do to avoid the government defaulting on its debt. Thornberry also said the bill would harm the U.S. military by freezing some funds. I mean, it’s not as if there are now plans to decommission aircraft carriers, or ground strategic bombers, or take weapons out of the hands of our fighting men and women.

Of course, as the Texas Tribune reported, none of the Texas House GOP members represent districts in the direct path of Harvey’s onslaught, which I suppose gives them some political cover for the votes they cast.

I used to believe that major disaster relief was a given in Congress. A region of the country gets clobbered, smashed, devastated by Mother Nature and the rest of the country rallied to its side. Americans stepped up to render assistance. That included members of the House and Senate.

No more. Now they attach qualifiers. They equivocate. They seek ways to offset the cost.

As the Tribune reported: “I am not against voting for relief programs to help hurricane victims, but I am against raising the public debt ceiling without a plan to reduce deficits in the short term, and eliminate them in the long term,” (Rep. Joe) Barton said in a statement. “The money we vote to spend today will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren.”

Thornberry, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, cited an aversion to short-term funding measures that he said harmed the military.

Barton, with that statement, managed to parse his opposition to some weird level that no one who is trying to rebuild his or her life is going to understand, let alone support.

Nice.

So many ‘un’s to characterize this president

Donald J. Trump is a man characterized by many descriptions using the prefix “un.”

He’s unpredictable, unconventional, unpresidential, unaware, uncontrollable, unbridled, unhinged (at times). There’s probably a lot more that I can’t think of at the moment. But you get the idea.

It remains to be seen just how this fellow is going to govern.

The president recently stuck a shiv in the back of his “fellow Republican” colleagues in Congress by agreeing to a deal offered by the dreaded Democratic opposition. It came from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Nancy and Chuck,” as Trump referred to them.

They tossed out a 90-day extension to keep the government running. It included some money for Hurricane Harvey relief. Trump took the deal and then plunged the Republican majority in both congressional chambers into near panic.

The extension and the debt ceiling increase now becomes an issue leading into the 2018 mid-term election, which is something the GOP did not want to occur.

Is this the art of the deal?

This isn’t how you cut the “best deal possible,” as Trump kept telling the nation while he campaigned for the presidency. But it’s the deal he struck. Jaws dropped all over Washington, D.C. Some chatter has wondered whether Trump is adopting former President Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation,” that positioned the president between diehards within both parties.

I don’t believe Trump knows enough about politics to employ such a brainy strategy. After all, both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — two savvy Republicans — say the president is “new” to this political game.

Let’s add unseasoned to the list of descriptions, shall we?

It looks for all the world as though we’re headed into a brave new world blunderbuss politics as executed by the man who sits in the Oval Office.

What do we make of this strange new alliance?

Donald J. Trump might have validated what some of us think about him: The president is a Republican In Name Only.

I’m shaking my noggin in disbelief at what happened in the White House today.

The president said in a room with congressional leaders of both parties. There was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan; also there was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

What does Trump do? In the presence of his fellow Republicans, McConnell and Ryan? He sides with Schumer and Pelosi, two of those dreaded Democrats in accepting a plan to fund the government for three months and providing immediate federal relief for Hurricane Harvey victims along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

McConnell and Ryan were furious; Schumer and Pelosi were gleeful.

What does this mean for Trump’s ability to govern? Beats me, man.

Read the story from The Hill here.

I am a bit baffled, though, on why Trump accepted the Democrats’ shorter-term debt limit while Republicans had pitched a longer-term deal.

My own Democratic-leaning preference tells me the president is open to negotiate with the “other side,” which many hard-core GOP leaders have been unable or unwilling to do. That’s not a bad thing, in my humble view.

I’m left to wonder whether Donald Trump has just inflicted a potentially mortal wound in his already-tenuous relationship with leaders of his own party. I also wonder if he is able to mend the wound in time for the 2018 mid-term election.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has become big-time pals with “Nancy and Chuck.”

Trump engages in another game of chicken

The president of the United States seems to have an addiction to the game of chicken.

He keeps throwing down challenges to those in the legislative branch of government to do his bidding … or else!

The latest or else is a big one.

Donald Trump wants Congress to provide money to build a wall along our southern border, or else he’s going to force a shutdown of the federal government. That’s right, the president of the United States is holding the entire federal government hostage to a political promise he made to voters en route to his being elected to the nation’s highest office.

This is a grotesque form of political extortion.

For starters, the president doesn’t possess unilateral authority to shut down the government. Congress plays a huge role here by appropriating money for public projects. If Congress chooses to increase the debt ceiling, for example, without setting aside wall construction money, the president can veto it — but then he risks being overridden by Congress.

The way I see it, members of Congress — particularly the Republican leaders who run the place — don’t like being dictated to by the president. They understand that Trump does not, which is that they share in the responsibility of governing the United States of America. They know what Trump doesn’t know, or refuses to know, or simply is too damn ignorant to figure it out.

I’ve long opposed construction of a “big, beautiful wall” along our border. It won’t prevent illegal immigration; there are myriad eminent domain issues to resolve; a wall won’t prevent illegal immigrants from tunneling beneath it.

And I need to point out, too, that a key part of Trump’s campaign promise to build the wall contained this provision: Mexico is going to pay for it! Mexican government officials say categorically, in plain English and Spanish, that they will not pay a nickel for the wall.

Now the president is going to foist the cost of this monstrosity on U.S. taxpayers, the very people he said he wouldn’t have to bear this burden? And if the wall isn’t included in congressional action, that he’s going to shut down the government and, thus, deny citizens access to services they might need?

I’m not issuing a medical diagnosis here … but the president is a loon.