It’s time to exercise our arithmetic skills:
A group of two dozen Senate Republicans have signed a letter vowing to oppose any increase in the nation’s debt limit unless Congress agrees to spending cuts to help pay down the national debt.
“We, the undersigned members of the Senate Republican Conference, write to express our outright opposition to a debt-ceiling hike without real structural spending reform that reduces deficit spending and brings fiscal sanity back to Washington,” the group, lead by Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, wrote to President Joe Biden.
“Our nation’s fiscal policy is a disaster,” they continued. “Our country owes $31 trillion, a level of debt that now well exceeds the size of our economy. Inflation is making life more expensive for American families every single day.”
The lawmakers then point to policies of the Biden administration, asserting they had imposed additional, onerous burdens on Americans.
“Americans are keenly aware that their government is not only failing to work for them — but actively working against them,” they went on. “We do not intend to vote for a debt-ceiling increase without structural reforms to address current and future fiscal realities, actually enforce the budget and spending rules on the books, and manage out-of-control government policies.”
Two dozen, you say? Let’s see now: Is that fewer than forty? I believe so. Mind you, these days “journalists” will say “two dozen” about a group that numbers anywhere from 19 to 29, but if we count the signatures, this time it appears accurate. Of course, having signed that letter doesn’t predetermine how those Senators will vote on an eventual appropriations bill, but let’s leave that aside for the nonce. Let’s entertain some relevant questions about them instead:
- What’s their price for yielding on the debt ceiling?
- Have they the approval of the Republican Majority Leader?
- Will any Republican Senator commit to voting against a debt increase?
- Even if all 49 of them eventually do so, will it matter? What Democrats will join them?
Naughty me, asking such pointed and potentially insulting questions of “our” “elected” “representatives!” I assure you, they just…slipped out! What a pity my backspace and delete keys are down for maintenance!
(I seldom end every sentence in a paragraph with a “bang,” but it’s a short paragraph, and besides, it’s a day for “stepping out of one’s comfort zone.”)
The Republican Senate caucus is heavily biased toward the political Establishment, and that Establishment loves to spend money it doesn’t have. After all, they won’t get the bill. We shall soon see whether this is merely a bit of meaningless grandstanding in the hope of preserving conservative support, or the prelude to an act in defense of the Republic. I know where I’m betting.