Thorner: Congress must wake up soon to out-of-control spending: RAISING DEBT CEILING LIMIT UNWISE

February 12, 2014

Thorner

By Nancy Thorner – 

Romina Broccia of the Washington Times suggested that for lawmakers battling over the debt ceiling they should stop to watch “Groundhog Day.” In the movie Phil Connors asks, “What would you do if you were stuck in on place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Connors was able to break out of his Groundhog Day cycle after reexamining his life and changing his approach to problems. Lawmakers could also do the same if they were willing to break out of the spending and debt cycle by putting the budget on a path to balance through cuts in mandatory as well as discretionary spending.

House Republicans have once again come face to face with this nation’s debt limit. A letter sent to House lawmakers on Friday, February 7, by Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, warned Congress that unless the debt ceiling is raised by Thursday, February 27, the treasury Department will all but completely exhaust its abilities to pay the nation’s bills (The borrowing cap was to be addressed back in October of last year, but it was suspended as part of the deal to end the government shutdown).

Predictably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammered home Lew’s stated deadline to House Republicans by demanding that Republicans enact a clean increase to the debt ceiling without any policy riders, further reminding Republicans that only a limited numbers of days remain when both chambers are in session before the deadline.

Do House Republicans dare not to heed this warning from Nancy Pelosi?

With only five days left in session before the deadline, we must act now.  Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to enact a clean increase in the debt ceiling.  Democrats hope the Republican leadership makes the right choice and brings this up for a vote, so our country can pay our bills.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made his view known on the issue when on Thursday, January 24 he seemingly reinforced the wish of Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats that it would be unwise for House Republicans to use the issue of increasing the borrowing limit to challenge President Obama on raising the federal debt limit.   Although at the time Gingrich did accuse Obama of trying to “bully House Republicans,” he further said that the GOP shouldn’t “pick fights” that they cannot ultimately win.

Newt Gingrich’s advice is getting to be rather stale. Time and again Republicans are told to keep their powder dry and wait for another occasion down the road to challenge the Obama administration on its massive spending and debt accrued since Obama was election in 2008 – $7 trillion dollars.  When is the right time for House Republicans to stand up and fight on behalf of the American people and future generations of Americans for a bit of sanity against raising the nation’s debt ceiling for the purpose of allowing the Obama administration to borrow more money and further erode the financial stability and health of this nation?

Initially Republican House Speaker John Boehner reassured the American people that he would request President Obama to give up a key provision of ObamaCare in exchange for his consent to raise the debt ceiling.  According to a Hill report, Speaker Boehner and his lieutenants on Wednesday, February 5, abandoned plans to tie an increase in the nation’s debt limit either to the repeal of a provision in ObamaCare or to the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision made only hours after the Congressional Budget Office said ObamaCare will eradicate 2.5 million jobs and add a trillion dollars to this nation’s debt!   Some patriots in the U.S.House, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, feel that agreeing to a clean debt ceiling is capitulation, and that he didn’t get elected by the District of Texas to come here to Washington and capitulate.

Only a few years ago, Obama spoke vehemently against putting America in debt as then Senator Barack March 16, 2006.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. 

But this is now.  Obama as president likes the power and control the office bestows on him, and uses it at will to enact policies that are consistent with his extreme leftist political philosophy.  Now Obama seemingly wants the power to raise the debt limit by himself, anytime.  Abandoned by Obama is any notion that members of Congress should get permission from the people they represent to borrow and spend more money.

Is it really necessary to borrow more money to pay our nation’s debt obligations?  The United States collects more than enough tax revenue each and every day to easily satisfy the repayment of our debt.  Without a limit increase on the use of the nation’s credit cards, our government officials would actually have to prioritize debt repayment and make modest cuts to out-of-control government spending now, instead of pretending that cuts are in the offing somewhere down the road. The interest on the debt is around $30 billion per month and the Feds are taking in $250 billion.  The only reason the U.S. would default is if Obama and Jack Lew, Secretary of the Treasury, refused to service the debt.

Will the decision be made in the House to betray the American people without consulting the American people about mortgaging the hopes and dreams of future generations of Americans? Figures cited in a report of Wednesday, September 25, 2013, place the national debt at nearly $17 trillion or $140,000 per American household.  Since Obama has been president the debt has been raised seven time, causing the per-household tab for the debt to soar by $43,000 in just the last four years.

A last minute meeting was called by House Republicans leaders and its conference last night (2/10) to try to come up with a legislative strategy on the debt ceiling regarding what they might attach to an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit.

Don’t hold your breath in hoping that House Republicans will do anything of substance in reducing spending other than to allow a clean debt ceiling increase to reach the floor. The latest is that the House did move toward a vote Wednesday on legislation that would lift the debt ceiling and reverse recent changes to military retirement benefits.  Even so this plan is a gamble, as it’s uncertain whether the package will pass the House without the support of a fair number of Democrats.

Is it too much to ask that Congress wakes up to a new day, and soon?  It’s time for Republicans to grow a backbone and stand up to Obama.  Most Republicans are scared stiff to challenge the media, fellow Republicans pundits and elitists, and President Obama and his operatives, ending up instead cowering in fear over their own political fortunes, while neglecting those they represent and indirectly the generations of Americans who will follow in their wake.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

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