The House of Representatives will vote today on a three-month extension of the nation’s debt limit, which the White House has said President Obama would sign. While there will be some dissent from conservative members, the vote shows that House Republicans have completely caved to the White House.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is thought to be a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, sharply criticized House Republican leadership during a speech in South Carolina on Monday, according to Politico:
In remarks to the Charleston Meeting, a gathering of conservative leaders in the first-in-the-South presidential primary state, Paul rebuked the House for its plans to delay the debt limit fight by a few months. Republicans intend to vote this week on raising the country’s statutory debt limit to delay a spending standoff with the White House by about three months.
“I saw the speaker on TV handing the newly sworn-in president a flag. I am afraid it was the white flag of surrender,” the Kentucky Republican said, according to a GOP source present at the meeting.
Alluding to the House GOP’s gathering last week in Williamsburg, Va., Paul jabbed: “They came out of their retreat and retreated.”
Earlier this week, CBS News erroneously reported that the national debt had increased by $4 trillion since President Barack Obama had been in office. Several conservative blogs picked it up, but didn’t bother to note that Obama’s first budget was submitted in February but didn’t take effect until October 2009, well after he assumed the presidency.
From October 1, 2009 to August 24, 2011, debt held by the public has increased by more than $2.4 trillion (this figure excludes intragovernmental holdings), in just over two years in office. During the four years of Democratic control of Congress (specific to budget years), the national debt increased by more than $3.9 trillion.
Needless to say, reigning in spending hasn’t been much of a priority. Of course, that doesn’t absolve the spending spree of George W. Bush and his Republican enablers; but it makes Obama’s past comments on spending laughable considering that he has done half the damage of his predecessor in just over two years. Take for instance, his comments from a campaign stop back in 2008, which I leave you without remark:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
Here is the video:
The folks over at the National Taxpayers Union have reviewed the 12 members of the
“Super Committee,” which was formed as a result of the debt ceiling deal, and found that they have 18 non-overlapping proposals to cut spending totaling over $89 billion. But as you can see in the numbers below, these members are coming from completely mindsets, especially as the federal government is running a massive budget deficit.
Since his first day in office, many supporters of President Obama have claimed some or all of his opponents are racist, that their opposition to him stems from their desire to see a black man fail as President of the United States. Recently, Atlanta television station decided to take a look at it themselves.
Tuesday, David Scott said racism did motivate some of the President’s debt-ceiling opponents.
“Who’s to say? We do know it permeates society. The first African-American president, there are some people who have difficulty accepting that. Not all, he never would have gotten to be President. So I don’t throw a blanket, racial indictment on this. But you asked me to give you all of the elements. I think that’s a part of it, there…. You throw that into the situation where now we’ve got to raise the debt ceiling. And under (President) Reagan it was raised 18 times. 18 times under Reagan…. This President, Barack Obama, is being tested with a different standard… We shouldn’t hold this President to a different standard.”
But Michael McNeely, the Chairman of the Georgia Black Republican Council, told 11Alive’s Jon Shirek Tuesday night that the focus of the debate is economic, not race. Period.
A huge number of people disapprove of Congress, at least according to a report from the New York Times. That huge number is 82%. The report cites the debt ceiling debate as a key reason for such disapproval, but personally I think it’s more than just that. The truth is that Congress, and the White House, has had their focus on everything that had nothing to do with the economy. That’s what people want to see fixed. For most people, they wanted the debt ceiling raised and raised quickly because they were terrified of what would happen if it wasn’t.
Predictably, the poll conducted by the New York Times found that Republicans are being blamed more in the eyes of respondents.
Republicans in Congress shoulder more of the blame for the difficulties in reaching a debt-ceiling agreement than President Obama and the Democrats, the poll found.
The Republicans compromised too little, a majority of those polled said. All told, 72 percent disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations, while 66 percent disapproved of the way Democrats in Congress handled negotiations.
This doesn’t bode well for Republicans leading into the 2012 general election, though the numbers for President Obama aren’t exactly glowing:
The public was more evenly divided about how Mr. Obama handled the debt ceiling negotiations: 47 percent disapproved and 46 percent approved.
The way I see it, Obama still has the inside track for re-election, but not by much. The right candidate can still take him down, but it won’t be particularly easy. This is especially true for candidates who also are members of Congress.
The following was submitted by Nick Nottleman, a reader and concerned American, on the debt ceiling debate and subsequent downgrade in our credit rating by S&P.
Newt Gingrich recently said that his biggest regret while Speaker of the House was not addressing baseline budgeting. This is the mechanism that says Federal Government Spending is automatically increased each year based on a given percentage. For Example, our 2011 Federal Budget is approximately 3.9 TRILLION dollars. Using the baseline of 8 percent, our spending should automatically increase 312 BILLION in 2012.
It is also the mechanism that projects these increases in spending and thus a projected budget for the next 10 years. And the really neat part is that if you decide to spend a little bit less than what these projections indicate, you get to call it a “cut”.
Now here’s the kicker… Anything you add to the annual spending, call it something crazy like “Stimulus”, “Omnibus”, or heck, even “Socialized Medicine”, well, that stuff sneaks right in there and receives it’s nasty little automatic increase.
As you’ve no doubt heard, on Friday, Standard & Poors (S&P) downgraded the United States’ AAA credit rating because the debt deal reached by the White House and Congress failed to cut the $4 trillion deemed necessary by the credit rating agency during the debate the debt ceiling:
S&P removed for the first time the triple-A rating the U.S. has held for 70 years, saying the budget deal recently brokered in Washington didn’t do enough to address the gloomy outlook for America’s finances. It downgraded long-term U.S. debt to AA+, a score that ranks below more than a dozen governments’, including Liechtenstein’s, and on par with Belgium’s and New Zealand’s. S&P also put the new grade on “negative outlook,” meaning the U.S. has little chance of regaining the top rating in the near term.
The unprecedented move came after several hours of high-stakes drama. It began in the morning, when word leaked that a downgrade was imminent and stocks tumbled. Around 1:30 p.m., S&P officials notified the Treasury Department that they planned to downgrade U.S. debt and presented the government with their findings. Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P’s math that delayed an announcement for several hours. S&P officials decided to move ahead, and after 8 p.m. they made their downgrade official.
Rep. Michele Bachmann launched her third ad this week in Iowa, where she is leading the field, touting her voting against the debt ceiling, knocking President Barack Obama’s economic policies and encouraging Iowa Republicans to support her at the Ames Straw Poll, arguably the most important event for campaigns in this early stage of the race.
The ad comes just over a week before the straw poll, which will be held at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 13th:
Since Tuesday, there have been a lot of concerns expressed about the “Super Committee” created as part of the debt deal hashed out between the White House and Democrats and House Republicans, including whether it has the ability to raise taxes. Republican leaders in both chambers have played down this possibility, but Philip Klein writes that they aren’t being honest with themselves, let alone taxpayers:
It’s an ominous sign that, even before the legislation creating the committee actually became law, the parties were already sending out dueling press releases about what it could and could not do.
If Republicans were smart, they would take Democrats at their word. But instead, they have been publicly in denial about the obvious risks of this committee for conservatives.
The key problem lies with the enforcement mechanisms, or “triggers,” created to compel the committee members to reach an agreement. While Republicans wouldn’t agree to a tax-hike trigger, they did agree to one that would slash defense spending by up to $600 billion, depending on how far short the committee falls of the deficit-reduction goal. This puts anti-tax Republicans who favor a robust military in a bind.
Democrats on the committee could insist on raising taxes, and Republicans will either have to give in to their tax demands or accept the deep defense cuts.
When I posed this clear dilemma to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as he was leaving the Capitol after Monday’s vote to raise the debt limit, he was dismissive.
Once again, I am in agreement with Dennis Kucinich:
A liberal Democrat on Tuesday called the “super committee” included in the debt-limit deal “anti-democratic.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said the committee reduced the governing majority down to a seven-person agreement on a 12-member committee. “It’s like ‘Honey, I shrunk the Congress,’” he said on ABC’S “Topline.”
The debt-limit agreement cuts federal deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 10 years while raising the debt ceiling at least $2.1 trillion through 2012. It also establishes a bipartisan, bicameral committee of 12 legislators charged with putting together an additional $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package.
Of course our agreement ends at the establishment of the so called “Super Committee.” It is difficult to tell if Kucinich is genuinely opposed to this cessation of power to a small group because of its “anti-democratic” nature or if he’s simply trying to prevent any cuts any way possible. For now, however, I’ll take him at his word since he is one of the only Democrats to consistently oppose the wars regardless of who is president.