As unhappy as I am about how this whole debt ceiling hostage taking is going and wondering what we're in for after we get more details on what's being agreed to right now, I was glad to see someone finally push back at this Republican talking point
July 31, 2011

As unhappy as I am about how this whole debt ceiling hostage taking is going and wondering what we're in for after we get more details on what's being agreed to right now, I was glad to see someone finally push back at this Republican talking point I hear them repeat day after day, week after week -- Democrats never passed a budget and so that makes the horrid Ryan budget passed by the House somehow "responsible."

Sen. Dick Durbin finally shot that one down on Fox News Sunday this morning and explained why they never got anything passed -- 60 votes -- or in other words, Republican filibusters and obstruction.

BAIER: Senator Kyl, when you hear the president say this no way to run the government, you know, that we'll likely also face another standoff at the end of September when the continuing resolution runs out and government funding -- you know, we're up against another government shutdown. You know, former White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once famously said, "Never waste a crisis."

Do Republicans now risk become the -- becoming the party that's always pushing up to the cliff, always using that cliff to try to extract concessions? I mean, do you fear the American people will have crisis fatigue, if they don't already, and that it will hurt your party?

KYL: You mentioned the possibility of a continuing resolution. Why would Congress have to pass a continuing resolution? Because the Senate Democrats now, for the third year in a row, will not have passed a budget. That's their job.

The House Republicans have passed a budget. Senate Democrats said no to that budget. So I think it's very unfair to suggest that Republicans are responsible.

We don't have the votes in the U.S. Senate. But where they do have the votes, in the House of Representatives, they've done their job.

BAIER: Senator Durbin, why haven't the Senate Democrats passed a budget?

DURBIN: It's called 60 votes. And what it boils down to is this: we have 53 Democratic senators.


DURBIN: Well, but I can tell you, when we get through all the procedural tangles that we face in getting through this budget resolution, it is not just a matter of finding some agreement, but getting it executed on the floor.

The point I want to make is this: this, as I understand it, the negotiation that we're talking about, will include some budget targets for at least the next fiscal year. So we won't revisit this kind of crisis politics when it comes to our spending bills for next year.

BAIER: But do you think this kind of deficit reduction that is happening this week, whatever this deal ends up being, would have happened without linking it to the debt ceiling increase?

DURBIN: Well, I understand the brinkmanship that's necessary to sometimes bring this matter forward. But let me say, the president did create a deficit commission. I sat on it, a bipartisan commission, and voted for it. And I had at least two, maybe three Republican senators who joined me in that vote.

BAIER: But it didn't make the needed vote to bring it to the --

DURBIN: That's exactly right. We tried to follow up, the Gang of Six. Again, a bipartisan effort. There has been a commitment from the president, as well as many in the Senate -- I just speak for the Senate -- to move forward in a responsible bipartisan way to deal with the deficit.

BAIER: But actually doing it, Senator, actually seeing the cuts, there are many people who believe that if it wasn't linked to this debt ceiling vote, that it really wouldn't be happening.

DURBIN: Well, I can tell you that if we have to risk our economy, a very weak economy, with so many people unemployed and businesses facing higher interest rates, which is bound to happen now because of this brinkmanship that we're engaged in here, that is not a good way to run this nation or the economy. And if that is the strategy coming from the House Republicans, it is not good for our long-term economic growth.

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