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Wednesday, January 2, 2013
President Obama's Warning on Debt Ceiling
Will the Republicans bring us to the brink again? Here's President Obama on that possibility:
"Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can't take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren't available to most Americans. And we can't keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we're going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending.
Now, one last point I want to make -- while I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed.
Let me repeat: We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred."
Some historical perspective:
"Republicans combined to vote for a debt limit increase 19 times during the presidency of George W. Bush. In doing so, they increased the debt limit by nearly $4 trillion.
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:
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.
Database searches revealed no demands from the four legislators that debt increases come accompanied by drastic spending cuts. In fact, the May 2003 debt limit increase passed the Senate the same day as the $350 billion Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
When Bush was in office, the current Republican leaders viewed increasing the debt limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running."
Worth Remembering: Republicans Usually Support Debt Ceiling Increases
The majority of the debt ceiling raises under Bush were done with a Republican Congress. Even after the Democrats took over, the Republicans supported raising the debt ceiling. Bush raised it 7 times, Clinton 4 times.
Will the Republican leadership hold this country hostage again and risk more financial uncertainty here and globally as the debt ceiling vote approaches?
I'm guessing it will, since past behaviors are a pretty good indication of future actions.
The real question is how President Obama will handle this next Congressional-induced crisis.