Debt Ceiling
The House passed a Budget deal on October 28, 2015 that, among other things, will extends the government’s borrowing authority through mid-March 2017. In 2013, the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate negotiated with the White House on three fiscal matters with looming deadlines: raising the debt ceiling now approaching the limit $16.5T, massive federal spending cuts known as sequester and a budget resolution. On February 4th, the President signed a bill into law extending the debt limit debate until 5/18/13. This date may also get extended as far as August due to financial manipulations similar to those used in 2011. The "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013" also mandates that pay for lawmakers be held in escrow starting April 16 until their chamber has passed a 2014 budget resolution. Congress must pass a spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October, 2013. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury “would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15. The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion. The debt limit has been raised 13 times since 2001 and has grown from about 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2001 to 102 percent of GDP last year. The hoped for legislation will raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 31, 2014.

The Senator Who Cried Debt Crisis

from The Wall Street Journal,

Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden have all played games with the borrowing limit.

What Mr. Schumer and the White House said was hypocritical nonsense. For one thing, it’s entirely within Mr. Schumer’s power to use reconciliation. He simply doesn’t want Democrats going on the record voting down the Republican amendments that reconciliation allows. He also doesn’t want to chew up precious floor time that he could otherwise devote to approving Mr. Biden’s controversial nominees or showcasing bills that might improve Democratic chances in the 2022 midterm elections. For another, Mr. Schumer knows he’s blowing the danger of debt brinkmanship out of proportion and only pretending to hold to principle. He has voted against raising the debt limit when Republicans held the presidency and the Senate. While George W. Bush was president, Mr. Schumer voted three times against raising the debt ceiling—H.J.R. 51 on May 27, 2003; S. 2986 on Nov. 17, 2004; and H.J.R. 47 on March 16, 2006. This came after Democrats forced votes on eight politically sensitive amendments. Are we to believe Mr. Schumer’s ethics got the better of him and he regrets playing games with the nation’s good faith and credit while our troops were in combat in Iraq? Perish the thought. Mr. Schumer isn’t the only Democratic legislative hot dog. Then-Sen. Biden and Rep. Pelosi also opposed raising the debt limit on all three occasions. Mrs. Pelosi also voted against a June 2002 debt-ceiling increase that Messrs. Schumer and Biden supported. Democrats are happy to force Republicans to do the heavy lifting to increase the debt limit when the GOP is in charge. In 2006, for example, Mr. Biden defended his vote to let America default on its obligations by condemning the Bush administration’s “utter disregard for our nation’s financial future.” He declared: “I refuse to be associated with the policies that brought us to this point.” He was joined by Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who characterized raising the debt limit as “a sign of leadership failure.” As president, Mr. Obama adopted a much different attitude, signing nine debt-ceiling suspensions or increases. Now Mr. Biden, Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer demand Republicans do what Democrats refused to do in the past. It’s a cynical political maneuver from the party that’s in charge.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

365 Days Page
Comment ( 0 )