Saturday, September 25, 2021

In Context

Three issues of national importance are rising to a climax as September 2021 comes to an end: • how much innocent red blood will be shed, • how much red ink its finances can endure, and • how much of a red agenda it will pass.

Sometimes people say things that communicate more than they intend. This week, as part of his efforts to justify yet another increase, Senate Majority Leader Schumer noted Congress has previously raised the debt ceiling about 80 times. In other words, the debt limit has not done much limiting. Now, Republicans have found a use for the debt ceiling: stopping a $3.5 trillion spending bill full of a leftist, trajectory-changing agenda. Leader Schumer has filed cloture on H.R. 5305, the bill to fund the government and raise the debt limit (yes, as recorded on page S6666 of this year’s Congressional Record).

Congress Update

Daily Digests – House • Senate — Prayers — Committee Reports

Related Headlines:

Senate — Daily Leader Remarks • Actions begunpasseddeclinedsummarized

Executive Session

Senate confirmed nominee for top Treasury tax position

House — Weekly Leader Colloquy • Actions passeddeclinedsummarized

Suspension of the Rules

House clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment — S. 189

House passes bill to compensate 'Havana syndrome' victimsof Likely Directed Energy Attacks — S. 1828

House passes standalone bill to provide $1B for Israel's Iron Dome — H.R. 5323

Considered Pursuant to a Rule

H.R. 5305, Government Funding, FY2022, debt ceiling limit suspension
House passes bill to fund government, suspend debt limit

H.R. 4350, NDAA, FY2022
House passes sweeping defense policy bill

H.R. 3755, Abortion codification
U.S. House Democrats advance abortion billmore accurately known as the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act • bill would override all pro-life laws at both the federal state levels — Vote was 218-211

Saturday, September 18, 2021

In Context

Two months ago, Senate Republican Leader McConnell gave notice that Republicans would not be providing any votes to raise the U.S. Federal debt ceiling. With trillions in spending suddenly part of serious regular consideration, Republicans are marking a line.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer quickly rejected the assertion, and Democrats have dismissed any thought of raising the debt on a partisan basis while proceeding to maximize their partisan spending efforts. This week, Schumer cited an economist claiming their proposals “would actually ease inflation pressures, not raise them.” McConnell cited an economist claiming the opposite.

Republicans had already said last year that the $2 trillion Cares Act was a one-time-only-ever vote, and had no intention of spending at that scale ever again. With such high spending amounts somehow becoming the norm, the debt limit is the closest option to attempt to halt further astronomical levels of spending.

Leader Schumer has claimed the debt has been incurred by both sides. He is not wrong. Forcing the debt limit to put a hard stop to any money going out beyond what comes in would make for a sudden fiscal jolt. The Treasury would shift from extraordinary measures for paying the bills to triage of who gets paid and who doesn't. If that included not paying on our debt, it would indeed have “serious negative consequences.”

Schumer's claims fall short by implying that raising the debt limit amounts to meeting our “responsibility to pay our bills.” Debt, by definition, is when monetary amounts are not paid, but deferred until later. Incurring more debt does not pay our bills, it adds to our bills.

Congress Update

Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Context: The National Debt Limit

Of the many issues facing Congress this month, there's one that affects them all: the debt ceiling.

The United States debt limit has never been allowed to have its intended effect on Congress.

Every time U.S. Federal spending has come near the statutory limit, the limit has either been raised, suspended, or precipitated a crisis that led to the sequester. Spending increases have usually been gradual, relatively speaking, and the proverbial frog in the pot has not noticed the water is coming to a boil.

In a single year, in response to the coronavirus, federal spending increases are no longer gradual. The supplemental spending now proposed rivals the size of all annual federal spending, a noticeably significant portion of the entire U.S. economy.

Congress Update

Saturday, September 4, 2021

In Context

If you want to know people's priorities, look at their calendars.

Congress has a very full agenda for this month, and it may have to go to unusual lengths to make it all work. It should be a bit surprising, then, that a new issue could quickly insert itself into this mix of top legislative priorities.

While Democrats have talked about codifying the “right” to end the lives of unborn babies into the U.S. Code, the new Texas pro-life law—and judicial restraint from interference in it—has suddenly galvanized them to action.

Congress Update

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