Conservatives claim that Democrats voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 just like the Tea Party is doing now. This is a desperate attempt at a false equivalency and therefor an obvious attempt to make what Republicans are doing seem as if it’s business as usual. It’s also an embarrassingly pathetic argument.
Here’s an example of the claim being linked to by tea drunk Republicans:
That Tea Party extremist is… is… wait, wait, that’s then-Senator Barack Obama, back in 2006.
Back then, raising the debt ceiling passed 52 to 48, with ALL Democrats voting against.
Oh, busted Democrats! Er, wait. No. No, sorry. Just no.
But nice try.
Here are the facts. In 2006, both chambers were Republican majority, along with a Republican White House (George W. Bush). Thus the Democrats were the minority. That vote increased the debt limit by $781 billion to nearly $9 trillion and was the fourth since then President Bush took office.
Debt limit votes fall on the party in power. They are politically toxic votes, and so politicians avoid a yes vote when possible. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows the vote usually splits along partisan lines, with the party in power voting in support:
When Republicans held both the Senate and the White House (2003, 2004, 2006), they provided virtually all the yea votes, while almost all Democrats voted no. When the Democrats were in power (2009, 2010), the roles reversed: the Democrats provided all but one of the yea votes, while Republicans voted no. Only when government was divided – with a Democratic Senate and a Republican president (2002, 2007) – has the vote to lift the debt limit been bipartisan.
Furthermore, in 2007 and 2002, a Democratic Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling under a Republican president, and there goes this sad, pathetic excuse du jour for Republicans refusing to do their duty for their country.
Conservative’s false equivalency compares then Democratic Senator Obama’s vote with the current Tea Party threat on the debt ceiling. They are not even in the same league. Democrats and Obama did not demand any concessions in order to raise the debt ceiling. This was a procedural for show objection.
You see, Democrats did not filibuster raising the debt ceiling as they could have in 2006. UNLIKE REPUBLICANS OF NOW, who have made history with their abuse of the filibuster. That is, Democrats knew it would pass, so their no vote was purely for show.
They decided to let Republicans, who claim to stand for fiscal conservatism, be the party voting to raise the debt ceiling under Bush. Democrats had tried to fund things with taxes but Republicans said no, and so Democrats blamed the rising deficit on the fact that Republicans were refusing to pay for things by raising revenue. Thus, the no vote for political show (done with the calculation of politicians who know when they can be tools and when they cannot be tools, I might add).
Flashback via the New York Times: “But the vote, essential or not, put Republicans in the embarrassing position of calling officially for more debt, and it let Democrats speak out for fiscal restraint.”
Notice that the conservatives who tout that vote never bother to explain the blatant hypocrisy of Republicans happily going along with trillions of debt and not even demanding to pay for the things they threw on the next budget – but now, under a Democratic President, oh my. Now they are all tight fisted – not even like Scrooge, more like the crazy uncle who thinks killing his kids will save money on food. Remember, the current crop of Tea Publicans believe that it’s no biggie if they don’t raise the debt ceiling limit.
For good measure, since they want to go back to the time when Republicans had control but couldn’t manage their own spending:
The Democrats say deficits created under President Bush are a direct result of a series of tax cuts that Democrats warned would result in a flood of red ink or a push to cut costly benefits. They scoff at recent Republican concern about getting a grip on spending.
Republican leaders say they recognize the need to put the government on a more stable fiscal foundation before the retirement demands of the baby boom generation bring what some critics consider an economic house of cards tumbling down.
Apparently even though Republicans had all of the power back in 2006, they couldn’t manage to live up to the insane “values” they now lay claim to and impose via hostage taking upon this President. Republicans are the blindfolded backseat drivers who killed all of the passengers.
While we’re back in 2006, Speaker Boehner was all against sudden cuts back then- he called them “political suicide”. He didn’t think significant changes should be undertaken in routine spending and budget bills. Yes, try not to choke on the hypocrisy.
“To go in and start making cuts without first helping people understand the problem, the extent of the problem, and the fact that these programs are not sustainable for the long term is, I think, political suicide,” Boehner explained.
That would be a no to a “sequester” that slashed funding blindly, then, eh Mr. Speaker? And a no to defunding the government for sure. And a big, fat no to not raising the debt ceiling at all.
For bonus hypocrisy points, “Congress increased the debt limit three other times during the past decade as part of larger bills: the 2008 housing act, the 2008 TARP act, and the 2009 stimulus.”
Republicans should avoid drawing the public’s attention to their fiscal policies when they were in charge in 2006. It only serves to highlight the radical insanity of their current behavior.