Green Room

In 2006 Not One Democratic Senator Voted to Raise Debt Ceiling

posted at 1:58 pm on July 17, 2011 by

As the clock ticks down toward August 2, the arbitrary date chosen by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the beginning of economic Armageddon for the U.S., President Obama’s warnings to voters become more dire. Last week, he told CBS News anchor Scott Pelley that he could not guarantee that the 27 million social security checks due to go out on August 3 would be mailed on time.

I dunno, maybe the president knows something the rest of us don’t, but according to the Social Security Administration’s own data, the Trust Fund had a balance of $1.8 trillion following 2010’s payout of $585 billion in benefits—more than enough to pay off this year’s recipients.

As the president becomes increasingly exercised over the possibility that the debt ceiling will not be raised, a number of commentators on the right have reminded him of his own thoughts on raising the debt limit in 2006, when he told Congress:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.… Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

While the president deserves to be hoisted by his own petard, a little known fact is that he has plenty of company. As the Senate’s own roll call vote for the debt limit increase in 2006 reveals, not a single Democratic senator—not one—voted in favor of raising the ceiling (h/t/ Weasel Zippers).

Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said last week that lawmakers would have to be “out of our minds” not to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, voted no. So did New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who chided Republicans for not being “adults about raising the debt ceiling.” Ditto for California Sen. Barbara Boxer who accused Republicans of playing games “the floor of the Senate, I guess just for fun.”

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The SS Trust Fund is an empty pocket that has been picked by the fed govt for decades. It’s easy when you have the key to the lock box and no one in office cares to stop it. They are about to be found out so expect a Repub cave on this and the rampant borrowing and spending to continue. If there’s a rep in the House that has an idea, now is the time to step forward.

Kissmygrits on July 17, 2011 at 3:09 PM

They were right not to back then. The reason Bush was hated by the time he left office was not because of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, although it was part of that, but it was because him and congress had an orgy spending all the projected surpluses that the OMB said were going to happen in the future.

astonerii on July 17, 2011 at 3:18 PM

hypocrites the lot of them

cmsinaz on July 17, 2011 at 4:44 PM

You da man, HP. I’d been meaning to research this. Thanks for posting.

So, to summarize: For Democrats, raising debt ceiling when deficit is over $200 billion a year: BAD.

Raising debt ceiling when deficit is over $200 billion A MONTH: GOOD.

J.E. Dyer on July 17, 2011 at 5:47 PM