Tag Archives: debt ceiling

Who’s playing politics?

How in this good ol’ world can Republicans say with a straight face that Democrats are guilty of “playing politics” when the GOP has turned the politics-playing game into an art form.

Consider the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling.

A Republican president ran up 20% of the total national debt during his single term in office. Congressional Republicans were silent when Donald Trump managed that feat. The debt happens to be on the books already as money is already spent. Meanwhile, the U.S. Constitution calls for the “full faith and credit” to be free of the political games now being played.

Now that we have a Democrat in the White House, congressional Republicans want to hold the national debt as a weapon to use against Democrats. What the hell?

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met today to discuss this debt ceiling matter. McCarthy came out of that meeting and suggested the two men made progress in settling their disagreements.

I get that we need to control government spending. I’m fine with that as a matter of principle. However, the debt ceiling must be lifted to allow this nation to maintain its full faith and credit. Bringing the debt ceiling crashing down would bring financial ruin. That is the truth. How about raising the debt ceiling, which is always done, and then talk about looking for greater fiscal responsibility?

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling arguably is the most brazen act of political gamesmanship imaginable. Thus, when the GOP accuses Democrats of playing politics, they are projecting their own sin on their opponents.

It is beyond shameful.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

New U.S. rep to hold our debt hostage?

It is with chagrin that I must report that my new congressional representative has joined the cabal of right-wing fiscal hostage-takers in suggesting that we must cut spending before increasing the nation’s debt ceiling.

Keith Self, a McKinney Republican, wrote a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News in which he declared that unrestricted federal spending poses an existential threat to our nation’s economic health. Therefore, he implied, he won’t approve measures to increase the debt ceiling until we curb spending … and thus will put the nation’s “full faith and credit” in dire peril.

Self’s Third Congressional District constituents might have to watch their retirement accounts vanish if Self’s world view becomes policy in the House of Representatives.

Increasing the national debt has been a perfunctory act since the beginning of the republic. Only now, with the GOP’s narrow House majority being led by the MAGA cultists who comprise a loudmouthed minority of Republicans in the House, it has become an “issue” worth debating.

This is crap! Reneging on our national fiscal obligations would plunge the nation into economic “calamity,” according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Why do Republicans in Congress insist on threatening to do such a horrendous thing? What the hell kind of statement are they trying to make?

Furthermore, why are GOP members taking this posture only when we have a Democrat sitting in the White House? Where in the hell was the Republican insistence on spending cuts when one of their own — Joe Biden’s immediate predecessor — sat in the Oval Office?

These congressional clowns are showboating and grandstanding — and holding our life’s savings, yours and mine — hostage to their preening and prancing.

And the man who represents me in Congress is one of ’em.

Despicable.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who holds key to debt?

A fascinating statistic is making the rounds out here in the Land of Ordinary Americans.

It involves the national debt, which is at its breaking point, and it speaks to the hypocrisy among Republicans who insist on spending cuts to counteract increasing the nation’s debt limit.

It’s this: One-quarter of the nation’s total debt was acquired during the four years that Donald Trump served as president. Furthermore, let us never forget — after all, Donald Trump damn sure won’t — that he is a Republican.

Thus, it becomes imperative to put this GOP yammering about spending cuts in its proper perspective.

Republicans in Congress were all but stone-cold silent during the time Trump was amassing the enormous debt. They weren’t demanding spending cuts the way they are these days with a Democratic president sitting in the Oval Office.

Why do you suppose that’s the case? Oh, I know! It’s politics, man, pure and simple.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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.