Last September, Kevin McCarthy said: "The past debt ceiling paid for everything in the Trump administration, plus seven months of this Biden administration", which is not true. During the Trump administration, Congress in bipartisan votes suspended the debt ceiling three times and the national debt rose by roughly $7.8 trillion or almost $2 trillion each year of his term. The Biden Administration by contrast, grew by $675 billion during Biden's first seven months, an estimated rate of $1.1 trillion per year.
Now, McCarthy is saying: "I would like to sit down with all the leaders and especially the president and start having discussions. Who wants to put the nation through some type of threat at the last minute with the debt ceiling? Nobody wants to do that." Except his actions indicate that he and his Republican House members want to do exactly that. House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) warned Thursday: "Giving in to Democrats' demand for a debt ceiling increase without implementing fiscal guardrails is neither reasonable nor responsible. Democrats and Republicans must seize this opportunity to rein-in our unsustainable spending and reorient our nation's financial trajectory before it's too late," What Arrington means by guardrails is to cut spending particularly on Social Security, Medicare, the IRS, and practically everything but the defense budget. All to further their efforts to direct money to the wealthy and large corporations, which is the result of their tax cuts starting with the Reagan administration. This is far from addressing any of the problems we look to government to solve.
Back to the debt ceiling. My view is expressed in the letter below, which I sent to my Senators and Congressman.
Representative Don Beyer,
The news is full of stories about how the House Republicans are going to bring the functioning of the US Government to a halt by not increasing the debt limit. To me this is just political theater. The US Government needs to pay the costs of programs which are the law of the land. The establishment of the debt limit in 1917 was an expedient step to make it easier to finance mobilization efforts in World War I. However it was a mistake, because it violated the Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
To me this says that once Congress authorizes a program for which an expenditure is required, it becomes the obligation of the Executive Branch to implement. If this requires issuance of debt, this is fine because the Congress is responsible for passing the budget, which is tied to authorized programs.
As a citizen of the United States, I am tired of this political theater, such as refusal to increase the debt limit, which to me is just an excuse for Congress not doing the job the Constitution calls for. As for cutting Social Security, the Fourteenth Amendment is clear on "payment of pensions".
Congress should clear up any ambiguity by repealing the debt limit.