Debt Ceiling Partisanship

During the debt limit debate we’ve seen just how far the left will go to avoid losing the argument. As public opinion shifted against their original “clean” debt limit increase, they changed their position to raising taxes. And as conservatives staunchly opposed tax hikes, the left began calling them “terrorists” who were holding the economy “hostage.”

Compare that to their rhetoric (such as “compromise”) to obscure tax hikes on a fragile economy. They’ve claimed that in order to be “bipartisan” a deal must include tax hikes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and President Obama have all been calling for conservatives to put partisanship aside to do what’s best for the country (again, they think tax hikes are what’s best for the country).

The trouble for Washington insiders is when you have a record, it’s easy to document your hypocrisy.

Sens. Reid and Durbin both have hyper-partisan histories on debt limit increases. The Washington Examiner has exposed them as hypocrites who were trying to claim they are above partisanship. During the past decade, these two Senators have always supported a debt limit increase when Democrats controlled the Senate, and always oppose the increase when Republicans were in charge.

Partisan much? President Obama faced four debt limit increases before he became President. He was absent (out campaigning) for two of them, voted to increase the ceiling when Democrats were in charge and famously voted against raising the ceiling in 2006 when Republicans were in charge, giving his famous “failure of leadership” speech. According to the Washington Examiner:

** On June 11, 2002, with the Senate in Democratic hands due to the defection of Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Jim Jeffords, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the total national debt to $6.400 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.

** On May 23, 2003, with the Senate in Republican hands after the November 2002 mid-term elections, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the total debt to $7.384 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted no.

** On November 17, 2004, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the total debt to $8.184 trillion.  Reid voted present.  Durbin voted no.  (In remarks on the Senate floor, Reid claimed that he would have liked to vote yes on increasing the limit, but that he had agreed to “live pair” his vote with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was absent but intended to vote no.  Reid explained the two had made a deal to cancel out each other’s votes. “I, therefore, withhold my vote,” he said of the maneuver, which allowed him to say he would vote yes without actually voting yes.)

** On March 16, 2006, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the total debt to $8.965 trillion.  Reid voted no, as did Durbin and Obama, then in his second year in the Senate.

** On September 27, 2007, with the Senate back in Democratic hands after the 2006 mid-term elections, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the national debt to $9.815 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.  Obama, running for president, did not vote.

** On July 26, 2008, the Senate passed a debt limit increase included in the Housing and Recovery Act of 2008 to bring the national debt to $10.615 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.  Obama did not vote.

** On October 1, 2008, the Senate passed a debt limit increase included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to bring the national debt to $11.315 trillion.  Reid, Durbin, and Obama voted yes.

** On February 13, 2009, the Senate passed a debt limit increase included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the stimulus bill, which increased the national debt to $12.104 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.

** On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the total debt to $12.394 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.

** On January 28, 2010, the Senate passed a debt limit increase to bring the national debt to $14.294 trillion.  Reid and Durbin voted yes.

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