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Chuck, Nancy And Donald: The Part That Mattered

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Chuck, Nancy And Donald: The Part That Mattered


Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Donald Trump’s deal with “Chuck and Nancy” has rained new angst on his party (the Republican Party). It extended the debt ceiling for three months and provided hurricane relief.

“Republicans, sorry, but I’ve been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn’t happen!” Trump tweeted, the subject being the Affordable Care Act. To rub it in — or perhaps to get something done — he turned to Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for action on other issues.

Some on the left grumbled that cooperating with Trump carried risks for Democrats. They could be seen as normalizing a man whose character they abhor, whose toxic policies they plan to run against.

Let us now interrupt this debate over who won and who lost to discuss whether what happened is good for the country. It is good for the country — though not as any dawn of a new era of bipartisanship. The part that mattered was the plan to wrench the job of raising the debt ceiling from the hands of Congress.

What does raising the nation’s borrowing limit do? It affirms America’s promise to honor its debt obligations. That should be a lawmaker’s duty, not a concession. Letting the United States go into default for any reason would destabilize the global economy, with disastrous results for this country.

The right has made a specialty of threatening America’s commitment to make good on its bonds, notes and bills. Belief that the mighty United States stands behind its Treasury securities has made them among the safest investments in the world. And that has kept the interest we (the taxpayers) pay on them relatively low.

Democrats and Republicans used to routinely approve increases in the debt ceiling. Republicans made no trouble during the George W. Bush years when the national debt doubled.

Then Barack Obama became president, and Republicans decided to play games with America’s pledge to pay back what it owed. They withheld support for raising the debt ceiling to force through their tax and spending priorities.

In 2011, they drove the U.S. so close to default that the stock market plunged, consumer confidence collapsed and Standard & Poor’s lowered America’s credit rating. The stunt cost taxpayers billions.

To discourage another debt ceiling showdown three months hence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and budget director Mick Mulvaney refused Republican entreaties to commit in advance to spending cuts. (Trump’s respect for our debt obligations is a refreshing change from his campaign talk of repaying the debt for pennies on the dollar.)

Republicans booed Mnuchin and Mulvaney. Of course, nothing would stop them from attacking government spending the old-fashioned way, through budgeting. They have a majority in the Senate, a majority in the House and a Republican in the White House, after all. They might have to work with Democrats on some details, but life is so unfair.

Politico had one top Republican, unnamed, saying Trump had handed “a loaded gun” to Nancy and Chuck. Another Republican, also unnamed, told Axios that it was like giving “an entire stockpile of weapons” to Democrats.

For all this self-pity about arming the opposition, it needs repeating that Republicans are chiefly responsible for having weaponized the debt ceiling. Their chief complaint, really, is that by removing it from partisan play, they can no longer take “the full faith and credit of the United States” hostage.

Democrats can rest assured that any memories of Trump working with their leaders will soon be buried in a slag heap of new insults. To the extent that they’ve advanced the cause of protecting America’s reputation as a trustworthy borrower, they should pat themselves on the back.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.


Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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  1. Unkabob September 12, 2017

    I think it was trump’s need to pass something.. Anything to better his ho-hum leadership thus far. He so wants to be acknowledged he will even toss poo-poo in the face of his own party.. Well, not really because he’s not a republican but being elected as a republican the status stands. It will definitely be short lived, his bipartisanship, because he’s not a people person and when he gets amped over something then all around him suffers. I’m hoping the Dems doesn’t fall for this trick but only feel pride that it worked this time. Meanwhile the right will fight back as they do not see this as a benefit for them.Will this or any future bipartisanship deal force them to pull out the impeachment papers? Not so long as it would benefit the Dems, no.

  2. Eleanore Whitaker September 12, 2017

    All Trump has EVER cared about is Trump. How stupid can some of his supporters be? He’s been like this since he was Mommy Mary Anne’s favorite son out of 4 other children.

    When he can’t get what he wants one way, he turns on those who supported him like a snake. Ask anyone who has had to do business with that scumbag.

    1. notafoxfan September 12, 2017

      interesting you should have a “snake” analogy for mr trump..he used some aesops fable story about a snake at one of his rallies,which was very telling at the time! he wants to look good and win,and he has made very rude remarks about McConnell and ryan both,so the deal with Pelosi and schumer was less a move to be bipartisan and keep the government operating,but more to “show” the republicans in congress and the senate that he is still in charge and knows “the art of the deal”, which he has so bragged about..(by the way, that book was “ghost written by someone else who followed him around..he did not actually write it!)

      1. Eleanore Whitaker September 13, 2017

        Here’s the reality of Donald Trump: If Madoff offered you a really fantastic deal on stocks, would you go for it? No? Why not?

        Is it because you know NOT to trust Madoff? Granted Madoff got away with it for 17 years by stealing $67 billion of his own clients retirements, but the Trump supporters would at this very moment pretend it was all a fake and it never happened. Then, they’d trust Madoff and when it went all wrong a 2nd time around, YOU’d be the one they blame for their stupidity.

        Once lost, trust is hard won to regain, if ever. There is always a dark cloud over the heads of cheaters. Now you know why any of us in the Metro area loathe Donald J. Trump. He has paid his way out of crimes you and I would be in prison for. Who launders money and gets to pay their way out?

        The more the enablers of crooked corrupt behavior are allowed to pay their way out as if it’s some kind of entitlement to amnesty from legality, the more they continue to get away with.

        Hammer their asses in court and throw the bums in jail where they belong. A white collar does not automatically provide immunity from laws in the US. Do the crime. Do the time.


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