It's now or never on the debt limit

In Washington, the fight over the debt limit tops the list of bipartisan messes.  So let's blame both sides and finally get to work.

According to news reports, there are 24 GOP senators who want to do something.  This is the story:

Nearly half of the Senate Republican Conference has signed on to a letter to President Biden warning they will not vote for any bill to raise the nation's debt limit unless it's connected to spending cuts to address the nation's $31 trillion debt.

The letter, led by conservative Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.), says it is the policy of the Republican conference that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by cuts in federal spending or "meaningful structural reform in spending."

"We, the undersigned members of the Senate Republican Conference, write to express our outright opposition to a debt-ceiling hike without real structural spending reform that reduces deficit spending and brings fiscal sanity back to Washington," the senators wrote.

They cited the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, which would automatically provide continuing appropriations to fund government if Congress fails to pass spending legislation by the end-of-year deadline, and the Full Faith and Credit Act, which would prioritize federal payments in case Congress doesn't raise the debt limit, as "meaningful structural reform."

"We do not intend to vote for a debt-ceiling increase without structural reforms to address current and future fiscal realities, actually enforce the budget and spending rules on the books, and manage out-of-control government policies," they wrote.

Since 24 is not 49, the minority leader did not sign it.  However, 24 can stop legislation.  Furthermore, Senator Joe Manchin is in trouble back home, and voting with the Democrats will not help him this time around.  He may rebuild his image in West Virginia by standing tall.  Maybe Senator Jon Tester of Montana is in the same boat.  I don't know about Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, but she may surprise us.  Also, I think most of the voters are concerned with the direction of the country.

The Democrats will play the "default" card and try to scare some voters.  The GOP can offset that by taking Medicare and Social Security off the table.  In the meantime, it's important for the GOP to lay down some markers and understand that this may be the best time to make significant reforms to spending.

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Image: Congressional Budget Office.

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