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AFF Sentinel-Vol 20#19-Debt Ceiling Game of Chicken

Will Republicans Finally Leverage an Advantage?

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 04/29/23

This next few weeks will not the first time there has been a confrontation over a looming debt ceiling increase for the U.S federal government. But this is the first time in a while that a Republican majority in one house of the Congress has had enough gumption to contest rather than just rubber stamp the increase.

The general media has done their best to portray House Republicans as disorganized, at odds with each other and fractious. The truth is, the Republicans thrashed out most of their differences and forged some basic principles during the Speaker fight the first of the year. The reluctance from some over the debt limit bill featured members who wanted to be tougher on spending and more restrictive on government. This’s good.

We know what hand President Biden has said he will play in this poker game. But how do you tell when a far left, half mental player is bluffing? How does he know? Will he know? Biden still thinks he’s created a great economy. The Treasury has already said the government could run up against the debt limit earlier than originally thought because the robust Biden Democrat economy is not bringing in receipts like they expected. This after record government receipts during the Trump Administration due to Republican tax cuts and Trump Administration regulation easing.

Larry Kudlow is tracking how long Biden has refused to even meet with Speaker McCarthy, now approaching 90 days.

Monica Crowley, former Treasury Assistant Secretary, told Kudlow the situation is different this time. This time the Republicans have put forth a responsible plan and the American people are more aware of our overspending, government regulatory overreach, etc. Steve Moore added that the bill’s provisions are hot button issues people favor, like work requirements for government assistance -- “wacko” according to Biden; capping spending; not hiring 87,000 new IRS agents and forgiving student loan debt. The latter would save $460 billion alone. Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal thought it a smart move that more divisive issues like tax cuts aren’t in the package. Win this one, show that the Republicans can stick together and go after more difficult battles later.

The caucus did remove some provisions from the bill in order to reach a consensus. Ethanol pullbacks were removed, as were some climate and energy rollbacks from Biden’s Inflation Production Act and the SNAP program.

While the proposal doesn’t sound that draconian to normal people, it is an indication of how ridiculous spending has gotten that even these provisions would save $4.8 trillion from budget deficits in ten years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The legislation the House passed is not a “threat to democracy,” as the Democrats have decried it. The current Democrat party is not the Democrat party of the past. It is now a revolutionary group of far left progressives. Biden and the Democrats’ position that there is a not penny that can be cut from the budget is the progressives’ position, not the opinion of many American people, even many Democrat voters. The polls are clocking Americans’ opinion that our country is going in the wrong direction at 70 percent.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will portray the Republicans in either house as wanting to starve the poor, abandon our veterans, cut off senior citizens’ money and healthcare, etc. The House minority leader Rep Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has described the bill as an “extreme MAGA Republican” ransom note.

Then there is Mitch McConnell. Did his concussion do anything to stiffen his spine? Schumer is a ruthless, leftist bully but McConnell has shown some feistiness in the past. This is a straight forward fight. Will he step up and marshal all the Republicans and enough Democrats in a 51/50 Senate to force a compromise? Some measure needs to get 60 votes or the Dems risk shouldering the blame themselves and damaging the President. Even McConnell has acknowledged that McCarthy has “done an excellent job of unifying our side.”

Sen. Joe Manchin has got to be still seething about the way he was snookered by Biden and Schumer over the Inflation Booster Bill and his permitting bill. He hasn’t announced if he will run for re-election in 2024. Whether he does or doesn’t, siding with the Republicans on this issue can’t hurt him with his conservative West Virginia constituents, angry over the throttling of their energy sector and their mountain pipeline. The pipeline is nearly finished but enviro-zealots lawsuits have forced withdrawal of permits granted years ago and stymied final completion.

In the past, the Democrats, with the help of their propaganda arm, the mass media, have usually made any debt ceiling/government shutdown threat as the fault of the mean, nasty, fiscally irresponsible Republicans. The question is, with the House making the first move and Biden’s very public refusal to negotiate at all, have enough of the American people become seriously worried about debt, spending and inflation to pressure Congress? How many leftist Democrat politicians care anything about any constituents but the noisy, far left progressives?

So many bills from the House go to the Senate to die. But Schumer can’t duck this issue. Something has to come out of the Senate. He may have a plan but he’s not told anyone or leaked it. With the Senate filibuster rule, he needs more than perhaps Manchin and Sen. Krysten Sinema. He needs Republican Senators to move any bill.

Even some Democrats are asking Biden to budge off his “not negotiable” position. But no one knows if Biden -- or his handlers -- are willing to hold that position until default is days or hours away.

The House bill focuses on spending reductions, something that will appeal to many Americans. Rolling back spending to 2022 levels is really just a return to crazy levels, not some draconian crash and burn pullback. They’re talking about a $31.5 trillion debt limit after all. The bill calls for limiting increases in discretionary spending to one percent annually for ten years, a provision bound to make Democrat spenders turn pale, even as part of an estimated $60 trillion in spending.

What kind of compromise is likely? Experts imagine there will be adjustments in the spending cap levels and the length of the extension, perhaps until after the 2024 election. But those are all still wins for conservatives and frustrated taxpayers.

We can only hope the Republicans can not only stick together on this one but learn from it to use for future fights. The Democrats have held together differing minority segments for years. The Republicans need to learn how to do it, too.

In other political news, North Carolina’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Congressional election redistricting that enabled the Democrats to gain four more seats in the U.S. House in 2022 was unconstitutional. Which likely means, Republicans will gain four more seats to their narrow majority in 2024.

More from the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file.

We just watched video of some protestors sitting down in the roadway, blocking a major two-lane expressway in Washington, with guard rails on each side blocking vehicles from getting around them. Their cause? The “climate emergency” and stopping the use of fossil fuels.

The video showed the cars backed up out of sight and frustrated drivers approaching the nutcases and pleading to be able to get to work and job interviews.

And what were the first two cars in the lineup of blocked cars?

Two Teslas.

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