President Obama’s chief Republican detractor, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has proposed a plan to raise the debt ceiling. The plan will make the president the sole entity who decides whether the debt ceiling is raised or not. McConnell has publicly stated repeatedly that his number one job was to “make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president.”
McConnell said in a speech yesterday, June 12, to the Senate, “After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable.”
Moody’s assigned the rating of junk bond status to the country of Ireland yesterday. Portugal was given the same rating last week. America’s fate could be similar if the deadline to raise the debt ceiling is not reached. The bi-partisan negotiations are stalled with the deadline to raise the debt ceiling three weeks away. Republicans want to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy and slash programs like Medicare and Social Security. Democrats maintain that the budget will not be balanced “on the backs of the middle class and senior citizens.” President Obama stoked Republicans’ political concerns when, in answering a question in an interview with CBS News, he said he “cannot guarantee” that the government can pay benefits next month to Social Security recipients, veterans and the disabled if Congress does not increase the debt limit by August.
MSNBC “Morning Joe” host, Joe Scarborough, blasted McConnell this morning stating that McConnell has completely betrayed his conservative base by proposing a convoluted plan that will not address the deficit, but will leave it in limbo until the 2012 elections when Republicans hope to take control of the Senate. He also stated that McConnell and House Majority Leader John Boehner were capitulating to the needs of Wall Street and not the needs of Main Street. A former U.S. congressman, Scarborough is known as a “true” conservative who is against raising the debt ceiling but promotes a balanced budget approach. He also has opposed the Middle East wars as being too costly and unwinnable and urged Congress to bring the money back to America’s infrastructure.
In outlining his proposal hours after his speech berating President Obama, McConnell told reporters: “If we’re unable to come together, we think it’s extremely important that the country reassure the markets that default is not an option, and reassure Social Security recipients and families of military veterans that default is not an option.”
The proposal would give the president sweeping power to increase the government’s borrowing authority in three incremental stages up to $2.4 trillion. It is estimated that this would be enough to cover federal obligations until next year if the president specifies spending cuts of equal amounts. Congress would vote to approve or disapprove, at which time the president would use veto power, if necessary, to override the congressional vote. The onus would rest with the White House and be used as a campaign talking point against re-electing President Obama.
It would be the first time Congress has given President Obama sweeping power on any major issue up for a vote. –a. robinson