At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillion by the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl. ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted:Oh wait a minute, let's hear what the feckless House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday,
June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”
May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.
November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.
March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.
September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.
"A vote to increase the debt limit in this country is an existential question for a fiscal conservative," and "These votes aren't easy. ...What I don't think that the White House understands is how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to say they're going to vote for a debt ceiling increase."
The audacity about these people to claim they are fiscally responsible in straight face and are no where to be found when President Obama is tightening the screws on them is very telling that the Republican Party is indeed a party of NO to anything President Obama proposes giving the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline a way to use it to blackmail the President into giving them more concession. However, giving "roughly three dollars worth of budget cuts for every dollar of new revenue" ain't the answer to fiscal responsibility and the President and Minority Leader Pelosi know it.
Eugene Robinson writes:
Progressives understand that Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable on their current trajectories; in the long term, both must have their revenue and costs brought into balance. Pelosi’s position is that each program should be addressed with an eye toward sustainability — not as a part of a last-minute deal for a hike in the debt ceiling that covers us for two or three years.That is why I am not so sold on the idea of age increase from 65 to 67 to save $124.8 billion between 2014 and 2021. A cut to Medicare regardless of how small this saving is will be perceived as a cut to the safety net regardless and would hate to see Democrats be associated with the same framing as has been used on the GOP with Ryan's Medicare voucher program.
It’s also true that Democrats believe they can win back a passel of House seats next year by highlighting the GOP plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program. They don’t want Republicans to be able to point and say, “See, the Democrats want to cut Medicare, too.”
While these negotiations continue, let's be aware that there is no clear indication of anything remotely close to a deal except both side doing their political preemptive strikes. Make no mistake about the fact the road to August 2nd is going to get uglier but let's focus as Democrats how we can help to be on the winning side giving our constructive feedback to the White House.
As Eugene Robinson concludes his article,
I understand why President Obama, in his news conference Monday, chided “each side” for taking a “maximalist position.” For political and practical reasons, it’s advantageous for him to be seen as an honest broker.I would have to post this cartoon for a lack of a better word to say to these cynical people -- "you mothafuckers!" Hat tip to BWD's blog for this cartoon.
Meanwhile, though, the clock ticks toward Aug. 2 and the possibility of a catastrophic default becomes more real. And no one should be confused about what the president confronts: On one side, grousing and grumbling. On the other, a brick wall.
However, if you have not heard Lawrence O'Donnell last night, don't miss it because he goes to show us again that the President is taking these idiots to school:
Join The Yes We Can Pragmatists fundraising drive in support of our President by clicking the image to the left. When we had a majority in the house, we made significant progress.
When we lose the House, we are stuck and unable to move the country forward. It is all on us to either feel sorry for ourselves or keep on keepin' on by getting involved to spread the word so that people will choose to vote Democrat because the alternative could not have been any clearer.