Democrats refuse to sit down at the negotiating table with Republicans because they insist that funding the government and raising the debt ceiling aren’t subject to negotiation. Republicans believe this is an opportunity to get our fiscal house in order, but Democrats just want to up the limit on their credit card. And, bizarrely, they claim that that’s the way it’s always been done.
They must be suffering from a bout of amnesia.
In 2006, when the national debt was less than half of what it is today, then-senator Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. In 2007 he refused to vote altogether. The same was true for then-senator Joe Biden, who also voted against raising the debt ceiling in 1984, when the debt was just $1.6 trillion.
Said Biden in 1984, “I must express protest against continually increasing the debt without taking positive steps to slow its growth.” The debt today is ten times as large, but the administration opposes any “positive steps to slow its growth,” to quote our current vice president.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” said Senator Obama five and a half years ago. Would he say the same thing today now that the debt has shot past $16.7 trillion? Would he admit his “leadership failure” to get spending under control?
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are no better. They both have voted against increasing the debt ceiling in the past when they didn’t get what they wanted. In 2006, Pelosi decried a “debt ceiling of $9 trillion” as too high. Where’s her concern today?
In 2004 she argued, “We just can’t give a blank check over and over and over again to this administration.” Today, she’s eager to hand over that check to President Obama.
But the Democrats are engaging in more than just rhetorical hypocrisy. The president has claimed that debt-ceiling increases have never “in the history of the United States” been accompanied by negotiations on other issues. Of course, that’s simply false. The president is either deliberately misleading the public or ignorant of history.
The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” gave the president’s claim “four Pinocchios,” saying that his statement doesn’t “stand up to scrutiny.” The congressional record shows that more than half of the increases in the debt limit have come alongside legislation dealing with other issues.
President Obama and the Democrats don’t want to make any concessions to the American people — whether it’s giving everyone fair treatment under Obamacare or reducing government spending to sustainable levels. And in order to get their way, they’re trying to rewrite history, hoping the country won’t notice.
America literally cannot afford to let them get away with it.
— Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.