House Republican Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) was on ABC’s This Week trying to justify House Republicans’ stand alone supposed Israel aid bill and the best he could come up with was they added $12.5 billion to the deficit because the deficit is a bigger threat than Russia or China.
I do wish I were exaggerating the inanity. Watch for yourselves:
“We passed a bill that addressed two problems that our Defense Department talks about: One, we need to get aid to Israel, and we do; but when our generals come and testify before committees like Armed Services, they say our debt is our biggest national threat. Not other countries like China, Russia — they say it’s our debt. We addressed both in this bill in a bipartisan vote,” Scalise said to George Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos wondered why they hadn’t simply passed a clean funding bill for Israel and why they’re trying to do away with going after wealthy tax cheats: “You’ve tied the aid to Israel to cuts in IRS enforcement, which is designed to go after wealthy tax cheats. Why combine those two? Is the new speaker prepared to put clean funding for Israel on the floor of the House?”
Scalise recycled a previously debunked talking point and then landed rather precariously on, “The CBO has been wrong on a number of fronts.”
The CBO has not been wrong about Republican math.
Let’s break it down.
Firstly, China owns somewhere around $981 billion in U.S debt, so Scalise comment doesn’t even make sense.
Secondly, Scalise tried to justify the House Republicans’ fake aid to Israel bill, and I call it fake because they know it won’t even get taken up in the Senate and the President would veto it if it did, by claiming that the deficit is our biggest threat. Scalise was careful to point out that the deficit is even a bigger threat than Russia or China (the former being Trump’s little helpers).
But it’s odd, because if Scalise really believes that, then why is he defending their position by citing a bill that the non nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined would add $12.5 billion to the deficit?
Thirdly, while Scalise might be referring to a private, unreported meeting, the last time an Intelligence leader warned Congress that our deficit being a dire threat was in February of 2018, which came on the heels of December 20, 2017. That is the day Republicans passed Trump’s tax cuts, which gave the most benefits to the wealthy and profitable corporations, severely undercutting U.S. revenue and thereby adding substantially to the deficit.
Oh, Republicans said those tax cuts would pay for themselves as well. Spoiler: They did not.
Forbes wrote in February of 2020, “Deficits immediately shot up after the 2017 supply-side tax cuts. And CBO forecasts that those deficits will continue to stay high for the foreseeable future. This is the opposite of tax cuts paying for themselves.
CBO released its regular update to the economic and budget outlook on January 28. The new estimates show a deficit of $1 trillion for 2020. This is the equivalent of 4.6% of gross domestic product. The federal budget deficit will grow to 5.4% of GDP by 2030, according to GDP.”
So the best reason House Republican Leaders can come up with to justify why they stripped out aid to Ukraine and funding our borders is that they are so concerned about the deficit that they needed to add $12.5 billion to it.
In reality, these Republicans do not want to fund Ukraine because they want to help Russia. And they do not want to fund the border because that would take away one of their biggest ways to scare their base into voting. And they want to defund the IRS to help their wealthy donors.
Their position is so absurd that they can’t even justify it in quick TV hits. They’re forcing the Sunday shows to push back on them because they are so ridiculous that even both sides experts are at a loss.
‘David Duke without the baggage,’ as Scalise has referred to himself in the past, wants to add $12.5 billion to the deficit because the deficit is our biggest threat.
Meanwhile, the business of the country is not getting done and real aid is not being passed. Yes, the deficit is a problem and it is a threat to the security of the country, and that is why adding to it just so wealthy people can pay less isn’t okay.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.