March 22, 2023

CEILING THE DEAL: Ted Cruz just admitted what his party’s really doing

CEILING THE DEAL: Ted Cruz just admitted what his party's really doing

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What’s the big debate on the debt ceiling? Senator Ted Cruz just admitted that his party really doesn’t care about it, except as a prybar to force what they want out of Democrats through threats of government shutdowns.

Republicans happily raised the debt ceiling several times under Donald Trump’s presidency, but since Joe Biden took office, they seem to have remembered that they claim to be the party against spending.

Now they’re promising not to raise the debt ceiling, even if it means the U.S. Government can’t meet its obligations and must shut down.

Democrats have been calling them out on this, pointing out that increasing the debt ceiling doesn’t mean approving more spending, it means making sure that funds are available to pay the bills that they’ve already incurred.

Now the Republican Senator from Texas is admitting that it’s not really about the debt ceiling at all — but about something to hold over the other party’s proverbial heads.

On Wednesday he explained it plainly, saying that it was the Republican plan to use the debt ceiling — and by extension, the threat of government shutdowns — as “leverage” to force Dems to fold on right-wing legislation.

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“It’s not my position that we will never raise the debt ceiling. Rather…we will use the debt ceiling as leverage to force real and meaningful structural reforms…Those rules that were written in the rules, I wrote them, alongside the other Senators who are standing up here today. That is the official position of the Republican Conference,” Cruz declared.

You can watch Cruz explain himself at the bottom of this page.

It’s not a very enticing proposal.

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Among other things, a shutdown means that government employees deemed ‘non-essential’ don’t get paid fur the duration, and government-funded programs like the National Park Service and some museums would be closed.

It can also bring a halt to some functions of the Department of Defense, where military members would be expected to continue working, but civilians who provide many of their needs would be furloughed.

It’s also not a good look for Republicans, as Forbes pointed out last year:

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“There is a high price to pay for Senator McConnell’s Senate Republicans forcing a shutdown. Three modern shutdowns have been enormously unpopular and Republicans have paid a very stiff price for them,” Forbes wrote.

One major difference: when that was written, an election was only weeks away, and that’s now past, so Cruz’s party may not see a shutdown as such a risky political gamble now.

The full Senate Republican press conference on the debt ceiling can be viewed below, via CSPAN.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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