Thursday, February 13, 2014

Senate passes the debt limit. Alexander and Corker support fillibuster. Vote no on debt hike.

Yesterday after cutting off debate on voting on raising the debt ceiling, the Senate passed a bill raising the debt limit. Apparently GOP leaders wanted to allow Senate Democrats to be able to pass the debt limit hike by a simple majority of 51 votes.  If there had not been a filibuster then all 45 Republicans could have voted against the measure and it would have still passed.  However, Ted Cruz of Texas filibustered the bill which required 60 votes to cut off debate.  That meant five Republicans had to join the Democrats to do that. 

They got their five:  Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn , Orrin Hatch, John Thune, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.  All other Republican Senators voted against cutting off debate. McConnell and John Cornyn both have primary challenges from the right and this gives their opponents campaign ammunition to use against them.  (link)

I understand the logic of Republicans who wanted to pass a clean debt ceiling bill. It goes like this: Democrats have said they will not accept any bill that has spending cuts attached to raising the debt limit. If Republicans pass a debt limit increase with cuts, the Congress will not pass it and we will have a government shut down, possibly a down grading of the government bond rating and all kinds of other bad things.  If Democrats hold firm and do not accept cuts, we will default on the debt of the United States. That would be a disaster and Republicans would get the blame and pay for it in the next election.  Instead of wining some elections and taking the Senate, Republicans may lose seats. It is better to let the clean debt ceiling bill pass and concentrate on winning elections and taking the Senate. Then, once we have a majority then we can cut spending.

I understand the logic, I just disagree. With a national debt of $17.5 trillion dollars, we have more debt than we can sustain. Payment on the debt and entitlements take the biggest chuck of the budget. We must deal with spending or doom lies ahead anyway. Republicans should have passed a debt limit hike with spending cuts, then mounted a massive public relations advertising campaign urging the Democrats to pass it and avoid a government shut down and economic disaster. The blame for the economic crisis should have been placed on the Democrats for being intransigent on any spending cuts. Republicans must be willing to present their arguments to the American people.  Republicans must fight back. If Republicans will stand and fight, I believe fiscal responsibility can be a winning argument.

I am supporting Lamar Alexander in the upcoming primary election.  I am very pleased he was not one of  those who broke rank and joined the five Republicans who joined the Democrats in capitulating on the debt ceiling.

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