Congress has long had a reputation for being unwilling or unable to get things done for the good of the country, but a Republican majority in the House of Representation appears to be united behind the belief that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by spending cuts.
The demand has led to a stalemate with the White House as President Joe Biden insists that he will not accept any conditions to what Democrats call a “clean” debt limit hike.
While Republicans say the cuts are necessary to combat the Biden administration’s big-spending agenda, critics are quick to assume there is a sinister motivation behind the GOP’s demands.
One such individual is Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who shared his thoughts during a recent MSNBC appearance.
“The shock that spending is going on here in Washington, you know, after spending like drunken sailors,” he said. “You know, we should not be surprised, but we should remind everybody that the cruelty here, the cruelty is not a bug, it’s a feature.”
WaPo's @Eugene_Robinson on Republicans asking for spending cuts in exchange for a bigger national debt:
"The cruelty here, the cruelty is not a bug, it’s a feature. It’s the whole point right now of what the Republicans are demanding is the cruelty. It’s not saving money" pic.twitter.com/OOHR3MArIo
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 19, 2023
Robinson seemed to acknowledge the underlying complaint that federal spending is too high, but he claimed that Republicans are not actually interested in reversing that trend.
“It’s the whole point right now of what the Republicans are demanding, is the cruelty,” he asserted. “It’s not saving money. It’s being performatively cruel to people that they can demonize, that’s what they’ve always done.”
A group of Senate Democrats have pushed for the president to invoke the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.
“Using this authority would allow the United States to continue to pay its bills on-time, without delay, preventing a global economic catastrophe,” the group wrote.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continued to engage in talks with Biden this week in hopes of reaching a compromise and expressed some optimism that the two sides will be able to make a deal.
“So, the structure of how we negotiate has improved. So it now gives you a better opportunity, even though we only have a few days to get it done,” he said.
Economists estimate that the nation could default on its debt as soon as the beginning of next month, but McCarthy concluded: “It is possible to get a deal by the end of the week. It’s not that difficult to get to an agreement.”