Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made an appearance on Fox News Sunday this Sunday. Speaking with host Chris Wallace, McConnell touched on a variety of subjects, ranging from the minimum wage, unemployment benefits and thee GOP’s chances of taking over the Senate. However, the most interesting part of the interview came when Wallace started discussing the upcoming debt ceiling with the Senator. McConnell basically stated that the Republicans will once again try to use the debt limit as a hostage to get what they want.
WALLACE: You heard, as you were coming in, my discussion with Dan Pfeiffer about raising the debt limit. After the government shutdown in October, which Republicans took the hit for, you were quoted as saying, “We are not going to threaten default again by attaching conditions.” But more recently, you said you don’t think there’s any chance that a clean, without any condition debt bill could get through the Senate.
So, which is it?
MCCONNELL: Well, those statements are not inconsistent. I mean, some of the most significant legislation passed in the last 50 years have been in conjunction with the debt ceiling, Congressional Review Act, the Clinton and Republican Congress deficit reduction package in the late ’90s that led to three years in a row of balanced budgets, the Budget Control Act we just did in 2011.
I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling when we have the debt the size of our economy is irresponsible.
So, we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country.
WALLACE: But you just heard Dan Pfeiffer say the president is where he is and he’s not going to bargain. He’s not going to put something on the debt limit. The fact is, and, you know, they talk about the definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over again —
WALLACE: – and expecting different result. When you get in these crises, whether it’s a government shutdown or a possible default, the public tends to side with the president at a time when the president’s numbers are low and you’ve got ObamaCare creating a lot of concerns about this president, you really want to get in a fight over the debt limit?
MCCONNELL: What we want to do is try to accomplish something for the country and I think the president — any president’s request to raise the debt ceiling, whether this one or previous presidents, is a good opportunity to try to do something about the debt. I think the president is taking an unreasonable position to suggest that we ought to treat his request to raise the debt ceiling like some kind of motherhood resolution that everybody says aye and we don’t do anything, when we have the stagnant economy and this massive debt created under his administration.
WALLACE: So, are you saying right here, we are going to attach something to the debt ceiling? And if so, what?
MCCONNELL: What I’m saying is we ought to attach something significant for the country to his request to increase the debt ceiling. That’s been the pattern for 50 years going back to the Eisenhower administration.
I think it’s the responsible thing to do for the country. I think he’s the one being irresponsible by saying oh, just raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to do anything about the debt or anything else that’s important to the country.
WALLACE: Any specific idea?
MCCONNELL: Keystone Pipeline, a good example of something that would create jobs for the American people. The House of Representatives will initiate the discussion on the debt ceiling increase. They probably will have other ideas.
There you have it. McConnell said that he is going to use the debt ceiling to get the Keystone XL pipeline approved. While Republicans keep touting the project as a jobs provider and a path towards energy independence, it will not do either of those things. Instead, it is something the Koch Brothers want passed so they can rake in billions and billions of dollars. In essence, it is yet another social welfare program for billionaires that Republicans are trying to sell to the American public as necessary for the economy and the country’s energy needs.
What I found entertaining in the interview is that Wallace tried to enlighten the Senator that fighting over the debt ceiling is going to be a loser for the GOP. Yet, McConnell still went ahead and pointed out that he is going to try to use the ‘negotiations’ to get perks for his rich buddies. Of course, there will be no negotiations because the President has stated time and time again that he will not place the full faith and credit of the United States on the line, especially when Republicans are trying to use it as a hostage to get things that they want.
With the national deficit shrinking at the fastest rate since World War II, Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to making demands around raising the debt ceiling. Yet, they still insist on making attempts to do real damage to the economy and the country as a whole just to get their way. In the end, they will once again take us to the brink and face real political damage by doing it. They haven’t learned a thing since taking over the House in 2010. Somehow, they believe that government should work by temper tantrum.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).