While Scandalmania continues to swirl, Congress still has the regular hum-drum business of governing to get done — and with little-to-no fanfare over the weekend, we bumped up against our debt ceiling and officially entered into the “extraordinary measures” territory that is only going to keep the country going ‘sometime past Labor Day.’ Things got pretty heated over the issue on the Senate floor on Wednesday, with Sen. McCain scolding some of his fellow Republicans for blocking efforts to move forward with a budget and instead imploring them to leave it to the Republicans in the House to stay another debt-ceiling hike. Sen. Rubio did not appreciate that.
“Let’s put some confidence in if not in the conferees appointed here, but in the conferees who will be appointed on the other side of the Capitol, who are of our party, who are fiscal conservatives just like we are,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “Instead of blocking, what I assure my colleagues — all three of them here, that is a minority of the minority of Republicans in the United States Senate — that [a majority] want to move forward with a budget which we spent so many hours and so much effort in achieving.”
Nor did Sen. Cruz, who is part of the trio — including Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul — objecting to appointing conferees to a House-Senate panel to put together a budget without an assurance that the debt ceiling will not be raised.
The senior senator from Arizona urged this body to trust the Republicans. Let me be clear: I don’t trust the Republicans, and I don’t trust the Democrats. And I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don’t trust the Republicans and the Democrats because it is leadership in both parties that has gotten us into this mess. … What we are doing to our kids and grandkids, I think is immoral. Now, I commend the Democrats in this body for their candor. The Democrats and President Obama have been very explicit that it is their intention to raise the debt ceiling and to do so with no conditions whatsoever, just to keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing money without any structural reforms to fix the problems. That is an intellectually consistent position. I think it is a dangerous position, but it is at least candid and that is the reason why everyday for sixty days the Democrats have opposed taking the debt ceiling off the table in this discussion. But unfortunately, one of the reasons we got into this mess is because a lot of Republicans were complicit in the spending spree, and that’s why so many Americans are disgusted with both sides of this House.
As both Rubio and Cruz point out, Congress has raised the debt ceiling — without fail, again and again and again — without adopting any substantive mechanisms to fix the glaringly obvious problem; why is it, exactly, that they are supposed to believe things are going to be different this time?