While the fight over the “fiscal cliff” is getting the attention of the media right now, the Treasury Department wants another increase in the debt ceiling and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is prepared to give it to them, apparently with no questions asked:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Wednesday that if the $16.394 trillion current legal limit on the federal government’s debt must be raised in the next few months by another $2.4 trillion, “We’ll raise it.”
That would set the debt limit at $18.794 trillion.
During a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked: “Senator Reid, the Treasury Department said last week that we will hit the debt ceiling again near the end of the year. Are you prepared—will you support—”
“I think the debt ceiling will come after the first of the year,” Reid said. “But please everyone accept this: They tried it before—they, the Republicans.”
“They tried it before – ‘We’re going to shut down the government, and we’re not going to raise the debt ceiling,’” he said. “If they want to go through that again, fine.”
“But we’re not going to be held subject to something that was done as a matter of fact in all previous administrations,” Reid said.
CNSNews.com then asked, “But will you support raising it by another $2.4 trillion?”
“If it has to be raised, we’ll raise it,” he said.
House Republicans aren’t likely to put up the same fight they did last year over the debt ceiling, though that’s not to say that there won’t be those inside the caucus that fight it along the way. However, Reid’s unsurprisingly passive tone about passing the measure is something with which to be concerned because there is no real talk about substantive spending cuts from fiscal cliff talks.
By fighting so hard to spare defense from cuts, House Republicans have ceded whatever arguments they’ve made in the last four years about the affects of government spending in the economy. Tad DeHaven calls this “military keynesianism.” Christopher Preble has noted that defense cuts “will not destroy local communities,” as so many Democrats and Republicans claim.
Defense spending is but one part of the equation. Democrats in Congress are completely unwilling to deal with entitlements in a responsible manner. They believe that raising taxes will solve these issues, but that just extends the life of these programs by a few years. It’s still kicking the can down the road. Since Democrats aren’t willing to even push for significant cuts to non-defense discretionary spending, there is almost no hope for entitlement reform.
It has been noted by many analysts and pundits that the status quo has been maintained in Congress. With the inaction on long-term budget issues, that could, unfortunately, not be any more apparent.