The Debt-Ceiling Hostage Situation
Posted September 30, 2013 in U.S. Law and Policy
You would not expect an environmental organization like NRDC to be engaged in the current debt-ceiling fight. But this is a cross cutting issue that will impact a number of issues that NRDC engages on. We are fighting the attempt to attach numerous riders and extort numerous concessions out of President Obama that directly target our issues (and we would also like to keep the economy going, but that’s important to everyone). There are Republicans in both the House and the Senate who refuse to raise the debt-ceiling without “concessions” that would strip the President of his authority to approve or disapprove the Keystone XL pipeline, would block the EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste, would require more offshore drilling, and would drastically change regulatory measures that help protect public health and the environment.
It is hard to call these “concessions” when it comes to the debt-ceiling; it is flat out extortion. Even a number of House and Senate Republicans are beginning to voice opposition to this plan of threatening to crash the economy. Instead of governing, the Republican caucus is trying to force Obama to sign the entire platform of the Romney campaign into law in exchange for keeping the economy from total implosion. If we can all remember back almost 11 months ago, Mitt Romney and that platform lost the election. End of story. But rather than accepting that their ideas are not what the people of this country chose, congressional Republicans are throwing an epic tantrum to risk the full faith and credit of the country in order to force feed us every policy idea they had hoped to win on last year.
The insanity of this is that GOP leaders openly admit that raising the debt-ceiling is imperative to avoiding a major economic disaster. Yet they persist that this ransom is a reasonable course of action. It is not. And the best thing to say about the debt-ceiling has already been said by Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post:
The thing about the debt ceiling is that it's not in any way, shape, or form a ‘partisan’ issue. There's no ‘position’ to take on it. It is not a liberal or a conservative ‘idea.’ And raising the debt ceiling confers no privileges or advantages on anyone -- it doesn't advance any policy or philosophy, and it doesn't even permit new debt. Congress has passed laws and appropriated monies. Having done so, certain obligations must be met. Raising the debt ceiling says only, ‘We plan on honoring our obligations.’ Not raising the debt ceiling means you are saying,‘We would like to cause the collapse of what is colloquially known as 'the economy.'
This is not a negotiation, it is a hostage situation. The question is, will Republicans shoot the hostage?
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