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Posts Tagged ‘Debt Ceiling’

 

Reuters reports: “The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.” The new rating is AA+. In explaining their decision Standard & Poors cites both the decision by Republicans in Congress to turn the debt ceiling into a [...]/p

via BREAKING: S & P Downgrades U.S. Credit For First Time In History, Repeatedly Cites GOP Intransigence On Taxes.

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Huffington Post 7/30/11

Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON — With just three days left until the country is set to begin defaulting on its debt, the House rejected a debt proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday — a move Republicans designed purely for theatrics to show the bill lacked the votes to pass.

The bill was rejected by a vote of 173 to 246. Eleven Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in opposing Reid’s bill. The defecting Democrats included Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.) and David Wu (Ore.).

Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) headed to the White House to discuss the state of play with President Barack Obama shortly after the bill went down.

House Republicans pushed Reid’s bill through via a restrictive voting process: The measure was taken up on the suspension calendar, which requires a two-thirds vote to pass, bars amendments and limits debate to 40 minutes.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), who sits on the House Rules Committee, called the day’s business “a joke,” “a disgrace” and “an insult to the American people.”

The effect of taking up Reid’s bill on the suspension calendar — a move typically reserved for noncontroversial measures — is “a $2.5 trillion bill being brought up under the same process used for post offices,” McGovern said.

Read more at Huffington Post

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AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 7/27/11 09:52 PM ET Updated: 7/29/11 10:19 AM ET

Neither the House nor the Senate has a clear path forward for must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to pay its bills, putting lawmakers and financial markets alike on edge less than a week before the deadline for heading off the nation’s first-ever default.

Without a deal by Tuesday, the Obama administration has said the government will be unable to pay all its bills, and could miss checks to Social Security recipients, veterans and others who depend on public help. In addition, credit rating agencies could downgrade their assessment of the government’s finances, further unnerving financial markets and perhaps causing interest rates to rise for everyone.

Despite his image as a button-down Republican, House Speaker John Boehner walked to the brink of a dramatic and historic agreement to change the government’s spending habits.

But as he twice approached a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Barack Obama that would have rocked both parties’ bases, Boehner was reeled back in by his caucus’ conservative wing. The muscular, Tea Party-fueled group not only forced him to abandon a “grand bargain” with Obama, it made him scramble Wednesday to secure the votes for a far more modest deficit-ceiling plan, which in turn is all but doomed in the Senate.

MORE HERE

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While the rest of the country focuses on the looming deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, House Republicans are taking advantage of their distraction to repeal environmental regulations and pass the most severe environmental budget cuts in 35 years. Republicans are pushing a bill that cuts 7 percent from the Department of Interior budget [...]/p

via With Default Seven Days Away, House GOP Fixates On Repealing Environmental Regulations.

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This went out in an email to previous supporters of
Alan Grayson this morning. 

Dear Linus,
I know why House Speaker John Boehner walked out of debt ceiling talks with President Obama on Friday.
It’s because Boehner can’t deliver.
It doesn’t matter what terms the President offers. It’s that simple. Boehner can’t deliver the votes.
The President might as well be negotiating with Tiger Woods; Tiger can’t deliver the votes, either. But at least Tiger has a better swing.
On Friday, the President said, “I think that one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is, can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything?”
The answer to your question, Mr. President, is no. The national Republican Party can’t even says yes to yes. And Boehner can’t do anything about that.
In May 1935, Pierre Laval, then the Foreign Minister of France, and also the once and future Prime Minister of France, met with Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator. Laval, a Catholic, urged Stalin to stop persecuting Catholics in the Soviet Union. Stalin asked Laval why it mattered. Laval replied that continued persecution could provoke a quarrel between Stalin and the Pope.
Stalin replied, “The Pope? How many divisions does he have?”
I don’t think that anyone could confuse John Boehner with the Pope, but nevertheless, at this point, President Obama might ask the same question about Boehner. How many divisions does John Boehner have?
Fifty-nine House Republicans abandoned Boehner on the “compromise” appropriations bill. Even though Boehner depicted it to them as a Republican victory on par with, say, the Battle of Stalingrad.
And now, Fox News has reported that between 80 and 120 Republican members of the House will vote against any bill to increase the debt ceiling, no matter what else is in it. You can be sure that Fox News knows what Republicans in Washington are thinking – because Fox News tells them what to think.
So somewhere between a third and a half of all of the Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to vote against increasing the debt ceiling, no matter what Boehner puts in front of them. Boehner is a general with no troops. The coach has no players. The teacher has no students. The chief has no Indians. The bride has no bridesmaids.

That’s why Boehner is always crying.

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Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling in Order to Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

DEMOCRACY NOW  July 22. 2011

President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner are allegedly close to a $3 trillion deficit-reduction package as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline. But the deal is coming under fire from both congressional Democrats and Republicans. Part of it calls for lowering personal and corporate income tax rates, while eliminating or reducing an array of popular tax breaks, such as the deduction for home mortgage interest. Some Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage on Thursday because the Obama-Boehner agreement appears to violate their pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as Obama’s promise not to make deep cuts in programs for the poor without extracting some tax concessions from the rich. We’re joined by economist Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.”

Read more or view video at Democracy Now
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Tea Party: GOP Will Be Held Accountable For Backing Business In Debt Ceiling Fight

HuffPost- Michael McAullif

First Posted: 06/ 1/11 02:27 PM ET Updated: 06/ 1/11 02:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Think of Republicans’ Tuesday vote against raising America’s debt cap as their “honest, I do still love you” sop to last summer’s fling, the Tea Party.

Because, like all such overheated romances, this one could soon be headed for an ugly breakup over money.

Last year, the Tea Party’s interests and those of big business were nearly perfectly aligned, with companies pouring millions into campaigns to oust Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone dropped some $33 million, with 93 percent going to elect Republicans.

But things are different this year, and nowhere will the split be starker than in the fight over raising the debt limit. Those groups represented by the Chamber want it to go up, in order to avoid what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warns would be a catastrophe. The Tea Party — especially its more loosely organized, grassroots members — adamantly want the debt ceiling to stay put.

The big crunch will come sometime before August, when the United States is expected to begin defaulting on its debt if the limit is not raised. Then, Republicans — and the 86 freshmen who were powered into office on the Tea Party surge in 2010 –- will have to decide if they embrace the entreaties of the business world to increase the limit or the ardent pleas of their tea-sipping supporters who want Uncle Sam’s credit card cut off at the current $14.3 trillion.

“What we’re looking for is real control of Congressional spending, not some fallacy they invent to make the electorate feel good for a temporary time,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.

A fallacy, in his eyes, would be the plan Congressional Republicans have embraced to raise the debt ceiling once they get concessions on spending cuts and budget reforms from Democrats.

MORE HERE

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Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression. (Photo: Public Domain)

Inviting Chaos: The Perils of Toying With the Debt Ceiling

Friday 27 May 2011
by: Ellen Brown, Truthout

[T]hreatening to default should not be a partisan issue. In view of all the hazards it entails, one wonders why any responsible person would even flirt with the idea.
- Alan S. Blinder, Princeton professor of economics, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve 

A game of Russian roulette is being played with the national debt ceiling. Fire the wrong chamber of the gun, and the result could be the second Great Depression.

The first Great Depression led to totalitarian dictatorships, war to consolidate power and concentrations of capital in the hands of a financial elite. The trigger was a default on the global reserve currency, in that case the pound sterling. The US dollar is now the global reserve currency. The concern is that default could create the same sort of global panic today. Dark visions are evoked of the president declaring a national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans locking into place, camps being readied for protesters and the secret government taking over.

This may all just be political theater, but do we really want to get close enough to the economic precipice to find out? The conservative ideologues toying with the debt ceiling are doing it to force cuts in the budget, a budget that was already approved by Congress. Congress is being held hostage by a radical minority pushing a risky agenda, one that is based on an economic model that is obsolete.

High-Stakes Gambling

On May 16, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “The Armageddon Lobby,” which claimed that a “technical default” on the federal debt was just “political melodrama” and not really a big deal: “[B]ond markets can figure out the difference between a genuine default when a country can’t pay its bills and a technical default of a few days if it serves the purpose of fixing America’s fiscal mess.”

MORE HERE

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Donald Trump Has Revealed the Truth About the Republican Party

Johann Hari
Columnist, the London Independent via: HuffPost

Posted: 04/28/11 11:04 PM ET

Since the election of Barack Obama, the Republican Party has proved that one of its central intellectual arguments was right all along. They have long claimed that evolution is a myth believed in only by whiny liberals — and it turns out they were onto something. Every six months, the Republican Party venerates a new hero, and each time it is somebody further back on the evolutionary scale.

Sarah Palin told cheering rallies that her message to the world was: “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way!” — but that wasn’t enough. So they found Michele Bachmann, who said darkly it was an “interesting coincidence” that swine flu only breaks out under Democratic presidents, claims the message of The Lion King is “I’m better at what I do because I’m gay,” and argues “there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”

That wasn’t enough. I half-expected the next contender to be a lung-fish draped in the Stars and Stripes. But it wasn’t anything so sophisticated. Enter stage (far) right Donald Trump, the bewigged billionaire who has filled America with phallic symbols and plastered his name across more surfaces than the average Central Asian dictator. A survey suggests he is the most popular candidate among Republican voters. It’s not hard to see why.

Trump is every trend in Republican politics over the past thirty-five years taken to its logical conclusion. He is the Republican id, finally entirely unleashed from all restraint and all reality.

The first trend is towards naked imperialism. On Libya, he says: “I would go in and take the oil… I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff.” On Iraq, he says: “We stay there, and we take the oil… In the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation’s yours.” It is a view that the world is essentially America’s property, inconveniently inhabited by foreigners squatting over oil-fields. Trump says America needs to “stop what’s going on in the world. The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are sapping our strength.” The U.S. must have full spectrum dominance. In this respect, he is simply an honest George W. Bush.

The second trend is towards dog-whistle prejudice — pitched just high enough for frightened white Republicans to hear it. Trump made it a central issue to suggest Obama wasn’t born in America (and therefore was occupying the White House illegally) — even though this conspiracy theory had long since been proven to be as credible as the people who claim Paul McCartney was killed in 1969 and replaced with an imposter. Trump said nobody “ever comes forward” to say they knew Obama as a child in Hawaii. When lots of people pointed out they knew Obama as a child, Trump ridiculed the idea they could remember that far back. Then he said he’d “heard” the birth certificate said Obama was Muslim. When it was released saying no such thing, Trump said: “I’m very proud of myself.”

The Republican primary voters heard the message right — the black guy is foreign. He’s not one of us. Trump responded to these charges by saying: “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

MORE HERE

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Boehner the Bluffer (Photo: Speaker's office)

Report: Wall Street execs warn Boehner on debt ceiling brinksmanship

by Jed Lewison for Daily Kos

Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM EDT

Politico:

Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about the impact a bruising fight over raising the nation’s $14.29 trillion debt ceiling could have on U.S. financial markets.House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has had conversations with top Wall Street executives, asking how close Congress could push to the debt limit deadline without sending interests rates soaring and causing stock prices to go lower, people familiar with the matter said. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday night that he was not aware of any such conversations.

Republicans are busily making a long list of absurd demands in exchange for raising the debt-limit ceiling, but they are running a bluff. There’s not a chance in hell they will block an increase in the debt limit. They might demand a bipartisan vote, and in divided government, that’s both reasonable and with precedent, but anyone who thinks GOP leadership will actually block an increase in the debt limit—or that Democrats need to make any concessions beyond being willing to join the GOP in voting for the debt limit increase—is absolutely out of their gourd.

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