Well the Republican controlled House passed a measure that would increase the debt ceiling in trade for a budget from the Senate that would cut spending (Yeah, right. As if that is going to happen). Now the Senate has passed the measure by a vote of 64-34.
The Associated Press reports,
The legislation would temporarily suspend the $16.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing, which experts say would allow the government to borrow about $450 billion to meet interest payments and obligations like Social Security benefits and government salaries.
The deadline for Congress to act again to prevent default would likely not come until August, according to calculations by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank.
Without the bill, the Treasury Department says, the government would default on its obligations by as early as mid-February.
“Failure to pass this bill will set off an unpredictable financial panic that would plunge not only the United States, but much of the world, back into recession,” said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. “Every single American would feel the economic impact.”
The short-term increase in the borrowing limit was the brainchild of House Republicans, who wanted to re-sequence a series of upcoming budget battles, taking the threat of a potentially devastating government default off the table and instead setting up a clash in March over automatic across-the-board spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and many domestic programs.
So, in effect, what has just taken place is that Congress made a bogus agreement with Democrats in the Senate and Barack Obama, in which the Democrats’ side of the agreement will never materialize and the Federal government has, in essence, stuck the American tax payer with $450 billion more in debt. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
While Boehner and company threaten “No budget, no pay,” they will be hard pressed to hold up to that when the time comes in just a few months for Senate Democrats to fulfill their part of the deal. After all, it’s hard to demonstrate intestinal fortitude when you don’t have any.
Fox News also reported,
“Senate Republicans offered several amendments, but all failed on party-line votes. Any amendments to the bill would have required the House to vote again.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., proposed an amendment to ensure that in the case of a cash crunch the government would use available tax revenue to make sure that bondholders, Social Security recipients and the military get paid. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, sought to require that any immediate increase in the debt limit be paired with commensurate cuts to spending, which could be spread out over 10 years.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wanted to make sure that spending was brought under control. “I can’t imagine voting to raise the debt ceiling unless we’re going to change our ways in Washington,” Paul said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “I am proposing that we link to raising the debt ceiling — that we link a balanced budget rule, an ironclad rule that they can’t evade.”
He even said that adding “token spending cuts” to the debt ceiling measure would not win his vote and it didn’t.
“We have to change the rules and we have to say to Washington, ‘balance the budget. You have to do it by law,’ ” Paul said. “And then I’ll vote to raise the debt ceiling. But only if we have an ironclad balanced budget rule that we attach to the debt ceiling.”
From my vantage point Sen. Paul makes a valid point when he says, “They say either you raise it or the sky will fall and the end of the economy will happen. What about an in-between solution? What about we ‘spend what we take in?’ We bring in 200 billion dollars a month. Couldn’t we just spend what we have instead of saying ‘Oh, we have to shut down government?'”
Ah, but that’s Washington for you. They don’t have to live in the real world. They can just continue taxing people and printing and borrowing money on the backs of tax payers to keep their power. They won’t listen to reason, such as Sen. Paul was giving them, but it’s you and me that are on the hook for their utter incompetence.