Why More Lawmakers Should Have Fought the Debt Ceiling Suspension
My Foundry piece this week explains the clean debt ceiling suspension is just the beginning of a sustained effort to abdicate fiscal responsibility. Some Republicans are discussing the possibility of reinstating the “Gephardt Rule,” a mechanism that allowed for approval of legislation increasing the nation’s statutory debt limit without an actual vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reinstating this rule would supposedly allow lawmakers to avoid periodic debt ceiling dramas, to the detriment of the American people:
America established a statutory debt ceiling in 1917 as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Services, the debt ceiling “imposes a form of fiscal accountability that compels Congress and the President to take visible action to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects in revenues.”
To put it another way, we have installed a smoke alarm in our nation’s fiscal house. If lawmakers believe it is dramatic to periodically determine whether or not the house is on fire, they should have the intellectual honesty to suggest we eliminate the nation’s debt ceiling.
Some today are criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 97% for refusing to allow the Senate to suspend the debt ceiling in an expedited process. Incredible. It’s bad enough to advocate resetting our nation’s smoke alarm and going back to bed while the children are asleep upstairs. Waiving the regular order of the Senate to take such an irresponsible step is beyond absurd.