Republicans are the Clowns in the Debt Ceiling Circus
It's way past political cliche, but that old "Popeye" comic strip where J. Wellington Wimpy promises to pay a short-order cook tomorrow for a hamburger he plans to eat today, is still the best way to describe Republican intransigence this week over a vote to extend the nation's debt ceiling.
In case you missed it, on Monday, Republicans in the narrowly divided U.S. Senate voted to block the approval of new borrowing intended to pay for old debt that they're complicit in racking up.
While entirely unsurprising, the GOP's united front on the debt ceiling is the most transparent kind of political cynicism.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans are pressing Senate Democrats to use the fast-track process known as reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling without GOP votes. That's the same process the Democrats want to use to bypass the GOP to pass the Democratic Biden administration's sprawling domestic agenda.
With the Senate deadlocked at 50-50, and a midterm election looming, Republicans want to make Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his fellow Democrats look as bad as possible as they look to recapture control of the 100-member chamber.
"There is no chance, no chance the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy, so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible," McConnell said Tuesday as another attempt to raise the debt ceiling flopped,.
But, and this is an important but, the inescapable reality here is that McConnell and the GOP are responsible for the spending that's led to the current standoff, and they're working as hard as they can to evade responsibility for it. That's some galactic dissonance for a party that's tried to portray itself as a champion of fiscal responsibility.
And even that doesn't hold up under even casual scrutiny.
These are the same Republicans, after all, who voted for the former Trump administration's deficit-exploding tax cut for the wealthy. And they are the same Republicans who voted for a two-year extension of the debt ceiling in 2019, according to Politico. And that monster bill boosted federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars.
After Monday's failed vote, Schumer correctly blamed Republicans, accusing them of “playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States," Olson reported.