Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is over House Republicans and their debt ceiling games. Announcing new legislation on Wednesday to withhold Congressional pay if the debt ceiling is not raised, Boxer said the House Republicans have a deadbeat agenda, “They are losers. Their strategy is a losing strategy and they are doing it all over again. Earth to John Boehner: The deficit has already been cut in half.”
As Republicans threaten to once again demand cuts in exchange for paying off their own spending (aka, refusing to raise the debt ceiling), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced legislation on Wednesday to withhold pay for members of Congress if they don’t raise the debt ceiling.
The “Pay Your Bills or Lose Your Pay Act of 2013” legislation would prevent Members of Congress from being paid should they fail to raise the debt ceiling and the government defaults on its bills. Congressional pay would be put into an escrow account until the end of the session, much like the Republican ‘No Budget, No Pay’ law.
Boxer explained in a news conference Wednesday that we should pay for the spending already authorized by Congress, aka our debts, and that using the debt ceiling as a hostage part of House Republicans’ ‘deadbeat agenda’.
“It’s a deadbeat agenda,” she said, pointing out that Republicans cost taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years with their 2011 politicking with the debt ceiling. (She is correct, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.)”They are losers. Their strategy is a losing strategy and they are doing it all over again. Earth to John Boehner: The deficit has already been cut in half.”
“President Obama is clear he is not going to allow hostage taking over the debt ceiling… The bottom line is we shouldn’t be holding the debt ceiling hostage.”
Senator Boxer is also correct about the deficit being cut in half. On May 14, the nonpartisan CBO updated its analysis of the deficit, saying that if current law holds, it will be less than half as large as 2009:
If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, CBO estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year—at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP.
“If members of Congress are willing to let America become a deadbeat nation by not paying our bills, we should not be paid our salaries,” Senator Boxer said in a statement. “Our legislation would help prevent a catastrophic default by putting pressure on lawmakers to do the right thing and honor our nation’s financial obligations.”
“America has always paid our bills,” Representative McDermott said in a statement. “We are not a nation of deadbeats. This isn’t a debate about curbing expenses, it’s about fulfilling the promises we’ve already made.”
If Republicans think they are going to be allowed to drive America off the cliff again without a fight, they are incorrect. They will pay a high political price, and that’s really the point of this legislation. It reminds the press and therefore the public that we’ve been here before and it cost us 18.9 billion dollars.