While much of the legislative attention has been on the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the far-left $3.5T reconciliation bill, a more pressing battle is taking shape. In order to avoid default and to pay for all the Democrats’ wildest dreams, the debt ceiling needs to be raised. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has already called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a desperate plea to get Republicans to play along.
He was having none of it though, as McConnell let it be known that Democrats were on their own in their quest to further blow out the budget. Now, the media blitz is on to paint that move as some kind of national betrayal.
Analysis: Senate Republicans say they will vote to allow a debt default, leaving Democrats scrambling for plan to avert economic crisis https://t.co/1DwVbCBLot
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 18, 2021
The minority, which the GOP is in the Senate, doesn’t “allow” anything. That’s the entire thing with being a minority and having no real power. So why are Democrats so angry that Republicans won’t do their dirty work for them? After all, the Democrats could pass a debt ceiling increase via reconciliation all on their own. Yet, not only are they pretending that’s not an option, but Nancy Pelosi has already rejected the idea.
The Washington Post seems to believe that Democrats have leverage here, and I’m just not seeing it.
Now, almost two years later, Democrats have set up a similar type of strategy that, if successful, will force Republicans to accept their fair share of the national debt that now tops $28 trillion. If this strategy fails, the federal government could run out of funding authority and enter another congressionally forced shutdown — the fourth in less than a decade — and create a debt crisis that could rattle global financial markets.
The “similar type of strategy” being cited is the one Pelosi used in regards Trump’s first impeachment, where she sent over baseless articles of impeachment in hopes of shaming McConnell into creating the spectacle she wanted. To his credit, he didn’t take the bait, took the media lumps, and quickly moved to a vote that ultimately failed.
I think Pelosi has even less ability to bully McConnell this time around. Republicans are not in power, and the party that’s in power is who will be blamed for a shutdown if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. And they should be, given they have the votes to raise it themselves. No GOP member should oblige in taking any share of the blame for yet more inflation.
But you can expect the media to keep pushing this idea that it’s somehow the Republicans who won’t raise the debt ceiling. No, it’s Democrats who could do it, but don’t want to do it alone. Well, tough luck. If they want their massive reconciliation bill, they need to own every bit of it. Frankly, I think a shutdown battle will only help the GOP going into 2022. Their position is strong. There’s no reason to give in now.