Less than eight years ago, in fact, then-Senator Obama argued that “Americans deserve better.” Apparently, now that Obama is president, they no longer do.
In yet another sign of “leadership failure,” as the current White House occupant once put it, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent a letter to congressional leaders this week demanding that Congress raise the borrowing limit by late February at the latest. If Congress refuses to do so, Lew warned, accounting gimmicks — so-called “extraordinary measures” — will only be able to keep Washington’s ballooning bills paid until around the end of next month.
“Protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is the responsibility of Congress, because only Congress can extend the nation’s borrowing authority,” Lew wrote in the letter to lawmakers sent Wednesday. “No Congress in our history has failed to meet that responsibility. I respectfully urge Congress to provide certainty and stability to the economy and financial markets by acting to raise the debt limit before Feb. 7, 2014, and certainly before late February.”
As usual, the establishment press is claiming that another supposed “showdown” between Republicans and Democrats is in the works. With the leader of their party in the White House, Democrat lawmakers are joining the administration in pushing for a so-called “clean” bill allowing the out-of-control borrowing and spending spree to continue accelerating. GOP leadership, meanwhile, appears to be hoping to wring a few largely worthless “concessions” out of the fight in a dubious bid to placate the party base.
“The Speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it, but a ‘clean’ debt limit increase simply won't pass in the House,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “We hope and expect the White House will work with us on a timely, fiscally responsible solution.”
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