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GOP Attacks Democrats For Voting To Preserve Nation’s Credit

Republican campaigns will harshly criticize Democratic lawmakers who vote to raise the debt ceiling in the 2022 midterm elections, the leader of the GOP's Senate campaign arm said.

"They're going to get held accountable for it," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NBC News' Sahil Kapur in an interview on Thursday.


When asked if the debt ceiling issue will be a subject of Republican campaign ads attacking Democrats, Scott responded, "Oh, you better believe it." He added that Republicans also plan to criticize Democrats if they succeed in passing the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that's currently making its way through Congress.

Members of both political parties have voted to raise the debt ceiling in past years. Republicans in Congress voted to increase the debt limit three times during former President Donald Trump's tenure.

During Trump's time in office, the United States added $7.8 trillion to the national debt. The GOP's 2017 tax cuts, which largely benefited the wealthiest Americans, will add roughly $1.9 trillion to federal deficits over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Since President Joe Biden assumed office, however, Republicans lawmakers have started using what was once a routine procedural vote as a cudgel to hold the U.S. economy hostage for their short-term political gains.

The federal government will hit its so-called "debt ceiling" sometime in October. If Congress doesn't act to raise the debt ceiling, funding for U.S. government agencies, programs and services will lapse. Further, the Treasury Department would default on the United States' debt, sending the country into an immediate recession that could wipe out 6 million American jobs and trillions of dollars in household wealth.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who voted to raise the debt ceiling just two years ago — has said Republicans won't vote to continue funding the government this time around.

But when Trump was president, McConnell argued that not raising the debt ceiling would be catastrophic for the country.

"I certainly don't think any Senators are rooting for a debt limit crisis that could put our full faith and credit at risk," McConnell said in 2019. "That means every one of our colleagues should actually vote for it."

McConnell is now going so far as to block the debt ceiling bill from an up-or-down vote and has vowed to filibuster the vote. He also wants Democrats to use a more complicated Senate procedure called budget reconciliation to raise the borrowing limit just with Democratic votes.

This decision has little to do with actual governance, and everything to do with scoring political points against Democrats — no matter the cost to Americans. Scott himself said this will be the GOP's playbook ahead of 2022: to hammer Democrats in ads for increasing the debt.

Still, it's unclear how effective Scott's strategy will be.

Polls have shown that 52 percent of Americans support Democrats' wide-ranging spending plan, which would make child care more affordable; give American workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave; lower the eligibility age for Medicare recipients; and add dental, vision, and hearing benefits to existing Medicare plans.

The debt limit, by contrast, is not a top concern among American voters.

An Axios/Ipsos poll from August found that "government budget and debt" ranked sixth among the most important issues for voters, behind the COVID-19 pandemic, political extremism, climate change, crime, and health care.

And a Gallup poll from August found just two percent of Americans saying that the "federal budget deficit/federal debt" is the "most important problem facing the country today."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Fed Chairman Warns Of 'Severe Damage' If Republicans Force Debt Default

Washington (AFP) - The chairman of the US Federal Reserve called on lawmakers to raise the nation's borrowing limit urgently on Wednesday, warning that failure to pay government debts would do "severe damage" to the economy.

"It's just very important that the debt ceiling be raised in a timely fashion so the United States can pay its bills when it comes due," Jerome Powell said as the central bank concluded its September meeting. Failure to pay, he added, is "just not something we can contemplate."

Powell's admonition came after six former US Treasury secretaries also urged the Senate to overcome the impasse "without delay" to avoid the harmful fallout should Washington default on its debt.

However, the plea for quick action looks set to fall on deaf ears, as the opposition leader in the Senate has steadfastly refused to cooperate with the ruling Democrats to increase the debt ceiling.

That could lead to chaos in financial markets, officials have warned.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure that would suspend the debt limit until after next year's midterm elections and fund government operations until December 3.

But it is now stuck in the Senate, which has until September 30 to take action to avoid a shutdown and a second deadline of mid-to-late October to suspend the debt ceiling.

Powell warned that "no one should assume that the Fed or anyone else can protect the markets or the economy in the event of a failure" by the United States to service its debts.

And the group of former finance ministers -- who served under presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- said in a letter to congressional leaders of both parties that even a short-lived default could threaten economic growth.

"It creates the risk of roiling markets, and of sapping economic confidence, and it would prevent Americans from receiving vital services," they warned.

"It would be very damaging to undermine trust in the full faith and credit of the United States, and this damage would be hard to repair," according to the officials.

They said protecting the "unshakeable creditworthiness" of the United States "is a sacrosanct responsibility."

'Different This Time'

But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell continues to use the debt limit as a political bludgeon to protest President Joe Biden's spending plans -- although he argued in favor of increasing the cap under former president Donald Trump.

"If Washington Democrats want to jam through trillions of dollars and reckless spending all by themselves, they can raise the debt limit, all by themselves," he said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Under Trump, the ceiling was suspended for two years, but was reinstated on August 1 with debt at $28.4 trillion.

The debt deadline looms as Democrats are hoping to secure a sweeping $3.5 trillion social policy package on a party-line vote, without dealing with Republicans.

That bill is itself bogged down in the usual morass of internal rivalries, however, with moderates nervous about the high ticket price, and progressives demanding the deal is in the bag before they will consider other spending priorities, such as infrastructure.

Biden invited two dozen lawmakers from the warring center and left wings to the White House Wednesday in a bid to forge a united front on the package, which would make for the largest single federal spending spree in US history.

"People wonder why is it different this time, given the fact that over the last 80 years the debt ceiling has been raised 98 times," Senate Republican Conference chairman John Barrasso told a news conference.

"Well, it's different this time because the Democrats are doing all of the spending. They're proposing trillions and trillions of additional spending without a single Republican vote."

Senator Mike Lee accused the Democrats of trying to "have their cake and eat it, too" by demanding a bipartisan debt ceiling increase rather than just going it alone.

"They've got the votes to raise the debt ceiling, if that's what they want to do. They don't want to do it without Republican votes," he said.

"Interestingly, however, they're just fine dumping three and a half trillion dollars on the American economy without a single Republican vote."

Trump Scheming To Oust McConnell From Senate Leadership

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't go out of his way to openly criticize former President Donald Trump — unlike outspoken Never Trump conservatives such as The Lincoln Project, attorney George Conway, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, The Bulwark's Bill Kristol and Washington Post columnists George Will and Max Boot — it is obvious that there is incredibly bad blood between McConnell and Trump. That bad blood is the focus of an article written by Wall Street Journal reporters Michael C. Bender and Lindsay Wise.

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VIDEO: Ron Johnson Admits Biden Won 2020 Election In Wisconsin

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Far right Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was caught on camera admitting that Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election because GOP voters voted for other candidates, and acknowledged "there's nothing obviously skewed about the results."

"The only reason Trump lost Wisconsin," Sen. Johnson told Lauren Windsor, a woman who poses as a Trump supporter, "is 51,000 Republican voters didn't vote for him."

Asked if President Joe Biden "won the state fair and square," Johnson would only say, "it's certainly plausible, there's nothing obviously skewed about the results."

Johnson is one of the country's biggest purveyors of the "Big Lie," and regularly traffics in dangerous conspiracy theories and far right wing propaganda, from election fraud lies to false claims about the insurrection to vaccine and coronavirus lies.

Windsor is the executive director of American Family Voices and the executive producer of the political web-show "The Undercurrent," and has caught other politicians on camera, like Sen. Ted Cruz.

Watch:

Rick Scott Gives GOP ‘Freedom’ Award To Raving Racist

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Republican Party's Senate campaign arm has given an award to a conservative activist who complained in 2012 that "racial hypocrisy" had increased in America under President Barack Obama and that "the heat has really been turned up by the Blacks in this country."

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on August 17 announced that the National Republican Senatorial Committee's "Champion of Freedom" award had been given to Colorado-based activist Maria Weese. Scott is chair of the committee.

In a remote broadcast on earlier in August from his office, Scott described Weese as someone who "has promoted the ideas that have made this country prosperous, a country which she became a citizen of at age 21. People like Maria make our country so great."

Weese has in the past made racist comments about Blacks in America, President Barack Obama, and South African President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela.

In a July 1, 2012, post to her Facebook account, Weese wrote, "Every excuse is being made to create the impression that the Whites in America are still persecuting and suppressing the Blacks in America. ... It must be an election year and you can see the wagons circling around Obama led by the Blacks, the far left liberalists, the unions, environmental activists, the members of the American communist party, the minorities getting government checks in the mail, the fat cats in the entertainment industry, and the rest of the uninformed and naive liberals in this country."

In 2013, according to the website Colorado Pols, Weese wrote on Facebook after the death of South African President Nelson Mandela:

Call it for what it is ,
Mandela was a Communist and and Obama is too….
Mandela won an election based on his race Obama won an election based on his race…
Mandela was made famous world wide by media for his Marxist ideology, Obama was made famous world wide for the media hiding his Marxist ideology…
Mandela endured prison Obama endured Michelle….

While the "Champion of Freedom" award is new in 2021, Weese is not the first person to receive it, nor the first with a history of racist comments.

The first person given the award was former President Donald Trump, who received it in April despite his own legacy of racist remarks.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

LISTEN: Sen. Johnson Says 'Try A Bunch' Of Debunked COVID 'Treatments'

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) continued his attacks on the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and his promotion of debunked coronavirus "treatments" during a Washington Times podcast on Tuesday.

"I've been an advocate for early treatment," Johnson said. "I'm very agnostic. I don't care what drug will work. Try a bunch of them."

He then goes on to say that people should "particularly" try the ones that are "safe," claiming that ivermectin has under one hundred deaths in over 31 years and hydroxychloroquine has "a couple hundred deaths."

"Now the CDC is warning the public and they know the public is going to conflate these," he continued.

He made these incredibly dangerous comments as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to put out a warning about ivermectin, a drug that is sometimes used to treat parasitic worms in humans.

Though there is a version of the drug made for human use, ivermectin is mainly used to treat large animals, like horses and cows. But that has not stopped anti-vaxxers, as Oklahoma has struggled to keep ivermectin on shelves and 70 percent of calls to Mississippi's poison control center are about ingestion of the de-worming drug, according to CNN.

"Animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do—a ton or more," notes the FDA advisory. "Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans."

"Well, of course," Johnson said, admitting taking a drug made for animals is not fit for human ingestion.

He also took to Twitter to defend himself:

But his attempt at a defense has not stopped him from pushing the use of these drugs, even though the FDA says that they do not approve the use of ivermectin for treating or preventing COVID-19. Moreover, it is not an anti-viral drug, meaning it is not used to treat viruses such as the coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine, the other drug Johnson strongly advocates, has also been debunked. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) "has formally concluded that the drug provides no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients."

"Owning the elites by taking a horse pill rather than getting the vaccine is really a telling commentary on just how much blind partisanship has taken over among Trump conservatives," wrote CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza. "Telling -- and terrifying."

Graham Wants To Impeach Biden Over Afghan Withdrawal

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) argued on Friday morning that if President Joe Biden "should be impeached" if he isn't able to evacuate every American and Afghan who helped the United States during the 20-year conflict.

Graham said Friday morning in an interview on Fox & Friends:

If we leave any Americans behind, if we leave thousands of those Afghans who fought along our side behind bravely, Joe Biden deserves to be impeached for a higher crime and misdemeanor of dereliction of duty. If we leave one American behind, if we don't get all those Afghans who stepped up to the plate to help us out, then Joe Biden, in my view, has committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution and should be impeached.

Graham makes his impeachment threats against Biden even as he was one of the loudest opponents of the two impeachments Former President Donald Trump faced during his time in office.

In October 2019, when Democrats first began the process of impeaching Trump for abuse of power for pushing Ukraine to investigate Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Graham said, "Impeachment over this? What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger. Democrats have lost their minds when it comes to President Trump." Graham said he wouldn't be an impartial juror in that impeachment trial.

In January, when Democrats started a second impeachment process, this time for Trump inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Graham argued that impeachment is too divisive and shouldn't happen.

"Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency," Graham tweeted on January 8. "It will take both parties to heal the nation."

During the impeachment trial in February, Graham said he found the evidence Democratic impeachment managers presented — including that insurrectionists were reading Trump's tweets during their attack — to be "offensive and absurd."

While Graham is arguing that the United States should take in Afghan refugees, he has a different take on Central Americans seeking asylum at the border. He introduced a bill in August 2019 that would make it harder for those migrants to both apply for and get asylum.

Graham's comments come as the United States is attempting to speed up evacuations of Americans and Afghans who aided the U.S. military from the country after the Taliban resumed control this weekend.

Remaining American forces are working through chaos following Biden's decision to carry out a deal the Trump administration struck with the Taliban to pull U.S. troops from the country after the decades-long conflict.

In recent days, Trump and his former officials have been trying to distance themselves from the deal the administration negotiated with the violent fundamentalist group. Biden said in a speech Monday that the deal left him with the choice of either withdrawing troops as planned or facing another escalation of the conflict that's cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Why Senate Republicans Have A Raging DeSantis Problem

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The politics of Florida's raging COVID-19 outbreak under the bankrupt stewardship of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis are proving to be particularly challenging for Senate Republicans.

Not only has DeSantis become the poster boy for dooming his constituents in service of political gain, but the southern swing state is also home to a dissonant mix of political interests as next year's midterms approach.

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