Republicans play this game every time Democrats are in charge, and use raising the debt ceiling as a cudgel to try to paint Democrats as irresponsible tax-and-spenders, even if they're the ones that helped to run up the deficit in the first place.
They're at it again, holding the full faith and credit of the United States' government hostage, filibustering lifting the debt ceiling, and threatening another Catfood Commission in exchange for their vote.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey made an appearance on this Sunday's State of the Union on CNN, and was grilled by Jake Tapper about their latest irresponsible stunt, but allowed Toomey to one, lie about the fact that raising the debt ceiling is needed due to spending that Congress has already approved, and two, lie that the Trump tax cuts he supported paid for themselves.
Tapper did push back on Toomey a little bit on the part about the spending, but he let this nonsense go completely unchecked:
TOOMEY: At some point, we would.
TAPPER: OK. And that's my point.
TOOMEY: And by a smaller amount.
TOOMEY: So, that matters. The timing of this is coming much more quickly. And the scale is much greater than it would otherwise be.
TAPPER: Right. Next month, it would happen, instead of next week.
But that's my -- that's my point, is that this is already about spending that already occurred, including $8 trillion of debt under the Trump administration.
No, the way I think about, it is -- it is certainly not. The spending that's already occurred, the money was raised for it, either through taxes or through debt. This is about future spending, some of which we have already committed to in the form of the big entitlement programs that are in -- on autopilot, much of which has not been committed to, such as the new entitlement programs that our Democratic colleagues want to -- want to launch.
But it is indisputable that this spending spree -- if you spend more, you will have to borrow more. And the Democrats want to spend vastly more. So they are driving up the need for...
TOOMEY: ... still debt in the future to cover all of the spending they want to engage in.
TAPPER: Sure, I get that.
But, for instance, the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation act, Build Back Better, the Democrats -- and I know you oppose this, but the Democrats are proposing tax increases to pay for it.
TAPPER: When it came to, for example, the Trump tax cuts, that was about $6 trillion. Most of it was paid for one way or another, but not $2 trillion of it. That was not paid for in any way. You supported that.
And that created the debt as well.
TOOMEY: Well, yes, Jake, it also created the strongest economy of my lifetime. That's just an indisputable fact, strong economic growth in 2019, record low unemployment rates in 2019, all-time record low for many subsets of Americans, including African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and wage growth that was accelerating fastest for low- income workers, without -- just happening more organically because of the strong economic growth. That kind of economic growth generates more tax revenue.
We were seeing the complete success of the tax reform. It's indisputable that we had the best economy of my lifetime. And now the Democrats want to undo the very tax regime that helped enable that tremendous economic growth, a very bad idea.
Which was met by crickets from Tapper, who just moved onto asking Toomey about funding the CDC and NIH with the pandemic going on and whether Republicans would vote for a "clean" bill or not.
As ProPublica discussed in January, the Trump tax cuts "built a national debt so big (even before the pandemic) that it'll weigh down the economy for years. From the article:
The “King of Debt” promised to reduce the national debt — then his tax cuts made it surge. Add in the pandemic, and he oversaw the third-biggest deficit increase of any president.
It would have been nice to see Tapper bother to point that out to Toomey.