The Debt Ceiling Deception

In September of 2011, the United States Congress passed legislation raising the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion to $16.4 trillion. The debt ceiling is a limit on how much money the U.S. government can borrow to meet its financial obligations and pay for spending programs.


On Oct. 4, President Joe Biden speaks on the debt limit at a White House event in the State Dining Room.

Erin Scott/White House/Zuma Press photo

Democrats continue to claim that they have the numbers and the mandate to approve the largest tax hike since 1968 and the largest domestic spending package ever. They also argue that without Republican support, they would be unable to increase the federal debt limit.

It’s a ridiculous stance, but one that this Administration often attempts to promote. For example, the surge in illegal border crossings in Texas is “seasonal,” the Afghanistan pullout was a success, and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill’s cost is “nothing.”

Nonetheless, the White House maintains that the minority party is to blame for the majority party’s inability to raise the ceiling. President Biden was brought out by the press-office gurus on Monday to depict the GOP’s unwillingness to cooperate as “so irresponsible and dangerous,” coupled with the typical procession of possible horrors: a credit downgrade, a currency run, and a potential default on U.S. assets.

“Let’s be clear: Republicans are not only refusing to do their job, but they’re threatening to use the power—their power—to prevent us from doing our job: rescuing the economy from a catastrophic catastrophe,” Mr. Biden said. “I believe it is hypocritical, dangerous, and disgusting,” she says.

No one, however, is stopping Democrats from doing their job. In the House, the Democrats can pass anything they want. To approve anything budget-related via reconciliation in the Senate, they need 50 votes plus the Vice President. Democrats are relying on the GOP’s inability to filibuster such a budget plan to pass their multi-trillion-dollar tax and spending spree.

Why won’t Democrats utilize reconciliation to increase the debt ceiling, as the parliamentarian has previously stated? When asked why Democrats aren’t utilizing reconciliation, Mr. Biden accidentally gave away the game.

Mr. Biden stated that “there is a procedure” that “would need literally hundreds of votes.” “It’s an infinite number of votes on issues unrelated to the debt ceiling; it could be anything from Ethiopia to anything else unrelated to the debt ceiling.” And it’s rife with all sorts of possible dangers in the event of a blunder, which would have to happen twice.”

To put it another way, Mr. Biden acknowledges that Democrats could increase the debt ceiling via reconciliation, but that doing so would require them to take tough votes on a variety of topics on the Senate floor. It’s possible that some of those votes will be unpopular. Mr. Biden is acknowledging that the reason is political: Democrats want Republicans to absolve them of having to vote on difficult issues.

Now we know why White House press secretary Kate Bedingfield and her colleagues keep the President under wraps. He may say something politically uncomfortable.

Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats are wagering that if they criticize Republicans loudly enough as the debt ceiling deadline approaches, the Republicans will cave in and provide Democrats with the political cover they want. But why should Republicans do so when Democrats have barred Republicans from participating in any way in the massive spending bill?

The Democrats who control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue will bear the brunt of the repercussions if Congress fails to increase the debt ceiling.

“We’ve got three things to accomplish,” Joe Biden said of Wonderland. “The debt limit, the continuing resolution, and the two bills are all on the table. If we accomplish that, the nation will be in excellent condition.” Images courtesy of Disney/Getty Images/Everett Collection Mark Kelly’s composite

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The print version of the October 6, 2021, was published.

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