Tag Archives: debt ceiling

Compromise wins!

President Joe Biden had reason to spike the proverbial football tonight, declaring outright victory in his protracted fight with the right-wingers over the debt ceiling.

He didn’t go there … to his great credit.

Instead, the president used his Oval Office speech tonight to offer congratulations to Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell — in addition to Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer and House minority leader Hakeem Jefferies — for putting the good of the country over the wishes of the extremists within their own partisan caucuses.

Biden noted that the deal that ends the debt ceiling discussion for the next two years doesn’t please everyone but it does good for the whole nation.

That is the fuel that makes a representative democracy run, the president noted.

Yes, he took some credit for legislation he has helped push through a deeply divided Congress. And why not? He’s running for re-election and you can rest assured fully that whoever runs against him in 2024 will raise a ruckus over perceived errors the president has made.

I am not enough of a policy nerd to quibble over the specifics of the deal that Biden and McCarthy hammered out. I did fear, however, the consequences of failing to get this deal approved by Congress. They affect me directly: Social Security income, my retirement account and veterans’ protection hit me right in the gut. I did not want to lose any of it.

Thanks to the president and the speaker, I won’t. Neither will millions of other Americans.

Thanks to the president and the speaker for pulling us away from that proverbial cliff.


Put ’em on the record!

The vote on whether to approve a debt-ceiling agreement hammered out by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going to be an eye-opener, indeed.

We’ll all get to see who among our House members wants to maintain our nation’s “full faith and credit” and which of them is willing to risk sending our nation into default … the result of which would be catastrophic.

I do not use the “c-word” lightly, or cavalierly. Retirement accounts would vanish, interest rates would skyrocket, millions of Americans would lose their jobs.

In other words, the sky would collapse … figuratively, of course.

The fellow who represents my interests is a Republican named Keith Self. He’s a former Collin County judge. He also is a MAGA-leaning, election-denying conspiracist who — I predict — is likely to say “no” to the deal that Biden and McCarthy hammered out.

Why? Because it doesn’t cut enough discretionary spending. Never mind that the president’s proposal cuts the deficit, reduces the national debt, maintains our military strength, keeps faith with climate change actions, raises taxes on the super-rich and seeks to maintain job growth.

There will be a lot of House members on both fringes of the big divide who will vote “no” on this deal.

I look forward to taking names and, to borrow a phrase, kicking some serious booty.


Biden: big winner on debt deal

I have been reluctant to dish out much praise for the negotiations that produced an increase in the national debt ceiling.

Until now.

I am going to offer a brief word of praise to the Negotiator in Chief, President Joe Biden. The president faced down the MAGA cult among Republicans in Congress and emerged as the big winner in this negotiation that extends the debt ceiling for another two years.

Joe Biden has spent his entire public service career learning how to negotiate with his “friends” in the other party. Thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate, eight years as vice president and now as the head of state/government/commander in chief, he has shown his mettle once again.

I long have understood that good government requires compromise on both sides. President Biden knows it, too. He practices it. He has fine-tuned his compromise skills and he brought them to bear as he haggled with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over a deal that certainly doesn’t please everyone.

You know the saying about the “perfect being the enemy of the good.” The “good” in this case avoids a catastrophe in case the nation were to default on its debt. Perfection for the MAGA gang on the right or the liberal/progressives was out of reach.

Joe Biden knows it. So does Kevin McCarthy.

It just appears to me that President Biden’s skill has won the day.


Compromise = good government

All right, folks, we are witnessing in real time the impact that good government can bring us.

One aspect of good government — in a representative democracy — is that compromise is essential. So, with that we have an agreement in principle to fend off the threat of our nation defaulting on payments to which it is obligated.

It came down to two men, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, haggling, needling, cajoling and compromising to reach this agreement.

“Everybody won’t like what is the end of the agreement … on both sides,” McCarthy said Saturday morning. “But … at the end of the day I think people should see what that product is before people vote on it.”

McCarthy is going to make the details of the agreement available to House members for 72 hours before casting a vote slated for Wednesday.

Progressives are unhappy. So are conservatives. These are the hardliners on both ends who refuse to accept compromise as an essential element of good government.

I haven’t seen the details of the bill, so I won’t comment on the finished product. My focus with this post is on the method that Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy used to reach this point.

Defaulting on our debt obligations is a non-starter. Both men said so. They proceeded from that point. Default would have produced a catastrophe.

The deal that Biden and McCarthy have reached is good for the next two years. It takes this whole issue off the campaign table for 2024. It is an agreement that in a more perfect world should have been reached without the drama that led to this point.

In the end, good government has won the day.


Good government works?

The deal to increase the federal debt ceiling that appears to be in the works between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is likely to be a triumph of center-left and right principles of good government.

Those principles will have won out over the extremists on both ends of the political spectrum. The far lefties don’t want any cuts in any discretionary domestic spending, while the far righties want to gut everything in sight.

Just to be clear, I will continue to place the bulk of the blame on this nonsense on the far right, the MAGA cult, those who refuse to govern via compromise. They are wedded to this notion of getting and keeping attention and ignoring the compromise that is essential to governing in a representative democracy.

President Biden brings decades of experience as a good-government Democrat to the table. He has given a little here and there and, to his credit, Speaker McCarthy appears also to have budged a bit from the precipice that the MAGA cult forced on him when he was elected the Man of the House at the start of the year.

If the MAGA types reject whatever debt ceiling deal emerges from Biden and McCarthy’s time together, they will be on the record as opposing the principles of good government that should be the rule rather than the exception.

Indeed, that we are having this discussion at all is a symptom of the perversion that has infected the process. This simply is a product of a Democratic president dealing with a Republican House majority that is dominated — strange as it looks — by a minority cabal of kooks who want simply to be heard and who don’t give a damn about being constructive partners in building a government that works for all Americans.



Mr. Speaker, for whom do you work?

Kevin McCarthy clearly needs a lesson on public service, because the House speaker is listening to the wrong “bosses” as he digs in against efforts to raise the national debt ceiling.

Mr. House Speaker, you work for the people of south-central California, who sent you to Congress to do their bidding, not the bidding of the MAGA crowd that is pulling your strings.

McCarthy appears to be resisting President Biden’s effort to reach common ground because the MAGA cabal that comprises the vocal minority within the GOP House caucus is demanding it of him.

What will happen, then, if the nation defaults? If it fails to pay its debts by the June 1 drop-dead date established by the Treasury Department?

A lot of folks in McCarthy’s home district are going to go without Social Security or military benefit checks, they will watch their mortgage interest rates skyrocket, they will lose their jobs.

Do you think that will piss a lot of ’em off?

The House once had a Republican leader named Eric Cantor of Virginia who listened too closely to the GOP leadership and didn’t listen enough to those who sent him to Congress. Cantor ended up getting booted out of Congress when the GOP primary voters cast their ballots for someone else. Cantor was deemed out of touch with the home folks.

Mr. Speaker, you had better pay attention to who is going to feel the harm of a national default on our debt.


GOP goes phony on budget concern

Congressional Republicans’ phony concern over federal government standing would be laughable if the consequences of their stubbornness in lifting the debt ceiling weren’t so catastrophic.

Let us remember this fact. When Donald Trump sought to raise the national debt ceiling during his term as POTUS, Republicans went along with their Democratic colleagues. No questions asked. Not a single concern raised about spending, the national debt, the annual budget deficit … all of which grew during Trump’s time in office.

Trump lost the 2020 election to a Democrat. Now the MAGA crowd in Congress who controls the agenda in the House of Representatives has become all worked up over spending. Now they want to cut spending dramatically before lifting that debt ceiling.

To his credit, President Biden isn’t swallowing all the bait whole, although he appears willing to give up some of the high ground he has staked in this standoff with the GOP caucus.

The president has proposed a budget that reduces the budget deficit, bites into the national debt and meets many of the GOP’s demands for “fiscal responsibility.” He also wants to force the mega-rich to pay more in taxes. Is Joe Biden seeking to make billionaires less than rich? Hardly. They will continue to be richer than God.

All of this posturing, though, appears to be for show. The MAGA crowd is not interested in governing. It is interested instead in making a spectacle of themselves and of the Constitution they took an oath to “defend and protect.”

Thus, we see House GOP leadership marching to the cadence the MAGA cabal is calling.

I will hold on to my sincere belief that there will not be a default on our national debt. The consequence of any of this is just too dire to fathom.


Debt ceiling: set to lift?

Is it too early to proclaim that the politicians in charge of setting federal budget policy have come to their senses?

Man, I hope it’s true what I believe I heard President Biden say about talks to lift the debt ceiling.

The president said the men with whom he has been negotiating — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer — all agree on one thing.

The United States cannot, and will not, default on the debt it owes. There you have it. Republicans and Democrats can agree on something!

That’s what Biden said. I believe he spoke in good faith.

Therefore, I will take that as a commitment to reaching a compromise in this battle that shouldn’t even be occurring.

I won’t bother to heap praise on whoever deserves credit for a potential compromise. However, I need to point out that Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president working both sides of the aisle in search of common ground on all manner of issues and policies.

He knows how to navigate his way.

The debt ceiling cannot go unattended. Doing so would mean we default on our obligations — in direct violation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Moreover, default spells economic catastrophe.

If I were an elected politician, I would truly hate for such a cataclysm to occur on my watch … you know?

Thus, we well might be closer to a deal that Republicans are suggesting, with their yammering about Joe Biden heading off to an overseas conference. Hey, he’s coming back sooner than planned to work things out.


Debt-ceiling fight enters critical phase

Congress and the White House are fighting over an issue that doesn’t deserve this level of political bloodshed.

I refer to the debt ceiling. Congress should increase it as it has done always since the beginning of the Republic. But no-o-o-o! The Republican caucus in Congress, led by the MAGA cultists among its members, are seeking to make some sort of idiotic statement about the need to cut spending before increasing the ceiling.

How can I state this more clearly: If the nation defaults on its debts, the economy is going to crash; we will lose millions of jobs; interest rates will skyrocket; the world will feel the pain this nation will inflict on itself.

Do congressional MAGA cultists really believe this is sound fiscal policy? It is nothing of the sort!

I say all this as a way to suggest that I believe President Biden and the congressional leadership are going to find a solution before the June 1 deadline believed to be when the ceiling must be lifted.

If they do, and I believe it will happen, we are surely going to be treated with all kinds of back-slapping, high-fiving and self-congratulations from our political leaders over the courage they showed in ending this crisis.

It’s all crap!

I am afraid that the end will last only until the next debt-ceiling crisis arrives.


Constitution lays it out there

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, speaks with crystal clarity about how our government must treat the debt it owes.

Here is what it says: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Wow, man. “Shall not be questioned,” the amendment states.

You know what this means? It means that the Republican dodge in demanding spending cuts before approving an increase in the debt ceiling is, um, an unconstitutional tactic.

President Biden is in the middle of talks with congressional leaders of both parties. He met with them in the Oval Office the other day. They’re planning another meeting on Friday. He said he is “considering” invoking the 14th Amendment if he and the GOP cannot reach an agreement on the debt ceiling.

I am not a constitutional scholar, but I certainly know a declarative statement when I see one.

Section 4 of the 14the Amendment is as declarative statement as anything I can find in the Constitution.

Joe Biden is as fluent in constitutional language as any man who’s ever held the office of president. Mr. President, you need to remind your congressional colleagues of what the nation’s governing document tells them.