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I could not in good conscience vote for the debt ceiling bill
By Donna
June 2, 2023 2:50 pm
Category: Government

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Let's be clear. The original debt ceiling legislation that Republicans passed in the House would have, over a 10-year period, decimated the already inadequate social safety net of our country and made savage cuts to programs that working families, the children, the sick, the elderly and the poor desperately needed.

The best thing to be said about the current deal on the debt ceiling is that it could have been much worse. Instead of making massive cuts to healthcare, housing, education, childcare, nutrition assistance and other vital programs over the next decade, this bill proposes to make modest cuts to these programs over a 2-year period. This bill will also prevent a global economic catastrophe by extending the debt ceiling until January 1, 2025 Ė when we will have to go through with this absurd process once again.

Having said that, on Thursday night I voted against the bill.

At a time when this country is rapidly moving toward Oligarchy, with more wealth and income inequality than weíve ever experienced, I could not in good conscience vote for a bill that cuts programs for the most vulnerable while refusing to ask billionaires to pay a penny more in taxes. Wall Street and corporate interests may be enthusiastic about this bill, but I believe it moves us in exactly the wrong direction.

I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that makes it harder for working families to afford the outrageously high price of childcare, housing and healthcare while, by cutting IRS funding, actually make it easier for the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America to cheat on their taxes.

At a time when climate change is an existential threat to our country and the entire world I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that makes it easier for fossil fuel companies to pollute and destroy the planet by fast-tracking the disastrous Mountain Valley Pipeline. When the future of the world is literally at stake we must have the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them, and the politicians they sponsor, that the future of the planet is more important than their short-term profits.

At a time when we spend more on the military than the next 10 nations combined I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that increases funding for the bloated Pentagon and large defense contractors that continue to make huge profits by fleecing American taxpayers with impunity. Let us not forget that the Pentagon is the only federal agency that cannot pass an independent audit or account for trillions of dollars in spending.

At a time when the pharmaceutical industry is charging the American people, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that does nothing to take on the greed of the big drug companies that are bankrupting Medicare and cancer patients while spending tens of billions of dollars on stock buybacks and dividends.

At a time when over 45 million Americans are drowning in student debt I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that eliminates the moratorium on student loan payments that has been a lifeline to millions of working-class families during the pandemic.

Deficit reduction cannot just be about cutting programs that working families, the children, the sick, the elderly and the poor depend upon. It must be about demanding that the billionaire class and profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes, reining in out of control military spending, saving Medicare tens of billions on prescription drugs costs and ending billions of dollars in corporate welfare that goes to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests.

The fact of the matter is that this bill was totally unnecessary. The President has the authority and the ability to eliminate the debt ceiling today by invoking the 14th Amendment. I look forward to the day when he exercises this authority and puts an end, once and for all, to the outrageous actions of the extreme right-wing to hold our entire economy hostage in order to protect their corporate sponsors."

Bernie Sanders


Cited and related links:

  1. rsn.org

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Comments on "I could not in good conscience vote for the debt ceiling bill":

  1. by islander on June 2, 2023 4:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this, Donna.

    This is why I voted for Bernie in the 2920 election. Unlike those who voted for Trump, I did not have to hang my head is shame when I left the voting booth.


  2. by Donna on June 2, 2023 4:34 pm

    You're welcome, islander. Sheri and I voted for Bernie too, and we share your sentiments.



  3. by Ponderer on June 2, 2023 4:50 pm

    He's my kinda politician that Bernie is. Gotta love him. Even when I might disagree with him.



  4. by Curt_Anderson on June 2, 2023 5:15 pm
    But if too many Republicans were no votes and Biden and the Democrats needed Bernie's single vote, would he have still been a no vote and crashed our credit rating and economy?

    Both our Oregon senators announced they were voting against it. It ended up that Merckley was a "no" and Wyden was a "yes". Merckley said it was the Mountain Valley Pipeline that he couldn't vote for. It's a natural gas pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia. Natural gas is a lot cleaner and WV's main export: coal. I'd like all those who have their hair on fire over the MVP to say if they use natural gas in their kitchen stove, water heater or furnace.

    There is probably a lot less than meets the eye about the work requirement for food stamps. I understand that food stamps are worth only $6 a day. You cannot live on that. It doesn't cover rent, etc. I strongly suspect that people getting food stamps (or SNAP, as it's called) are already working to earn income.

    I am not so sure about the invoking the 14th Amendment. There is much uncertainty there. The stock market doesn't like uncertainty. So while the courts were assessing the applicability of the 14th, stocks and our credit rating would sink. OD said so and I believe he's correct that in the meantime our creditors, social security recipients, government workers, etc. would go unpaid.



  5. by islander on June 3, 2023 4:30 am

    ĒThe fact of the matter is that this bill was totally unnecessary. The President has the authority and the ability to eliminate the debt ceiling today by invoking the 14th Amendment. I look forward to the day when he exercises this authority and puts an end, once and for all, to the outrageous actions of the extreme right-wing to hold our entire economy hostage in order to protect their corporate sponsors."
    ~ Bernie Sanders

    fully agree with Bernie.

    I realize it might have been difficult to use the fourteenth amendment this time because of the time involved, but I think not waiting until the last minute might've helped and I think virtually any reasonable judge could expedite matters. This debt ceiling cap thing needs to be totally revised or eliminated since itís only use is that of a political football. Our country needs to pay its bills and using this ďcapĒ to threaten not to pay them is simply a form of political blackmail and I don't think that was what it was intended for.


  6. by HatetheSwamp on June 3, 2023 5:29 am

    OD,

    Do you think our wokesters here believe that the members of the Freedom Caucus who couldn't vote for the bill are people of conscience, too!!!!!?

    Baha baha bahahahahahahahahahaha baha


  7. by Ponderer on June 3, 2023 5:57 am

    "But if too many Republicans were no votes and Biden and the Democrats needed Bernie's single vote, would he have still been a no vote and crashed our credit rating and economy?" -Curt

    I am certain that had it come down to Bernie's vote being the deciding one to get this passed, he would have voted for it. It would have been a totally different situation then.

    I even mentioned to Donna before the vote that I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie voted against it. In his mind, taking anything away from the elderly or the poor and destitute should have been off the table. And I agree with him.

    In a situation where "no one gets everything they want", that always means that the elderly and the poor are gonna lose something, and most likely something that they desperately needed. The rich and comfortable may not get quite as much as they wanted, and industries and businesses might get regulations or taxes they don't want, but they really aren't gonna hurt from it like the poor and elderly will from what they lose. These "fair and across the board" compromises always hurt the elderly and the poor the most. It never fails.

    And that is precisely what Bernie is quite tired of having to watch happen for the last forty years of his political career. I don't blame him a bit for his decision because I am sure that he realized that the bill would pass even without his yea and he was at least going to make a clear statement with his vote.

    But had he known that his vote would have been the make-or-break to get the debt ceiling raised, that would have been different. At that point, the stakes would have been much higher and there would have been much more to lose than just what he wanted saved for the poor and elderly. I am sure that in that situation, he would have voted in favor of the bill. As would probably all of the Democratic no voters would have.





  8. by Donna on June 3, 2023 8:14 am

    I agree with what you said, islander, about invoking the 14th Amendment.

    IMO a truly civilized country would look like what Bernie envisions.

    If humankind survives long enough to look back on our era, we will look barbaric to them; our penchant for mass killing, including industrial warfare; our despicable treatment of our most vulnerable people, the lives of whom the MAGA House apparently wants to turn into an even worse hell; the insane destruction of our own ecosystem that provides life itself.

    We are a race of angry monkeys.

    Btw I'm not seeing anyone here disagreeing with Bernie on this.


  9. by Ponderer on June 3, 2023 8:28 am

    Invoking the 14th Amendment would have worked. And it would have left everything as it was and just raised the debt limit.

    But it would have been playing a wild card that the right would have gone entirely apeshit about. Shitwoulda hit the fan something fierce. As it is this way, Biden has given everyone something and taken away something from everyone. In terms of an option that has the best overall result for the country, I think this one was the best option.

    Politically, Biden played this all brilliantly. This will serve him and the Democrats well in a year and a half or so. Moderates and independents are gonna lap it up.

    But of course in reality, there are still going to be a lot of important things left hanging. Things that someone like Bernie isn't about to gloss over or neglect.



  10. by HatetheSwamp on June 3, 2023 10:16 am

    The relevant part of the 14th Amendment:

    "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

    Where do you get the idea that, in this Constitutional Republic, the Executive Branch can act without the Legislature?

    What inspires you to think that this group of Supreme Court Justices would permit that!!!!!??


  11. by Curt_Anderson on June 3, 2023 10:44 am
    Sometimes reading our constitution, and its amendments is a bit like reading the Bible. You can find contradictions within both. For example, the 14th amendment makes one argument, but you can find itís opposite: In the federal government of the United States, the power of the purse is vested in the Congress as laid down in the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 (the Appropriations Clause) and Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 (the Taxing and Spending Clause).

    Thatís why I donít think invoking the 14th amendment wouldíve been a slam dunk. The fact that more Republicans were no votes than the Democrats is a strong indication that Joe Biden played this correctly.


  12. by Ponderer on June 3, 2023 10:57 am

    As I said,, Curt. It woulda been a wild card. But I think that even if invoking the 14th had gone straight to court, it would have gotten the debt ceiling raised and the economy saved at least.



  13. by HatetheSwamp on June 3, 2023 10:59 am

    I agree with you on the 14th Amendment. Our Supreme Court, based on last year's decisions, is elevating the authority of the legislature.


  14. by Donna on June 4, 2023 9:05 am

    I would think that an overwhelming majority of Americans would agree with the sentiments Bernie expressed in the piece he wrote. He's been preaching those ideas throughout his entire political career. Yet he lost to Hillary in the 2016 Democratic Party primaries, I think mostly because he identifies politically as a democratic socialist.

    A very dear friend of mine who's a lifelong Democrat liked Bernie, but they didn't vote for him in the primary because they were afraid he'd win the nomination and that the GOP would use that to scare the country away from voting for him and voting for Trump instead.

    I wish that Bernie had never described himself as a democratic socialist, because of what I just wrote and also because he's actually just a social democrat in the mold of FDR.



  15. by oldedude on June 4, 2023 11:29 am
    The bern and I disagree on virtually everything. That said, I respect him. What you see is what you got. Easy as that. And I do appreciate that about him. Especially as a politician. That's a very rare commodity.

    The democratic socialist thing. He did go to Russia on his honeymoon. I think he goes beyond FDR. I'll still listen to him though (much to the dismay of many in my circle).

    And like I've said, you and I also agree on the 14th Amendment thing.


  16. by HatetheSwamp on June 4, 2023 12:50 pm

    Yet he lost to Hillary in the 2016 Democratic Party primaries, I think mostly because he identifies politically as a democratic socialist.


    Bernie lost to Hillary because the Primary was rigged. Period.


  17. by Ponderer on June 4, 2023 2:36 pm

    "Bernie lost to Hillary because the Primary was rigged. Period." -Hate

    See Bill, when I see someone use a word like "rigged" when it has been obvious for a very long time that they don't have any idea of what they mean by it, it's difficult to even take a flailing guess at what you mean by it.

    So could you possibly explain in a little detail what you mean by it?



  18. by Curt_Anderson on June 4, 2023 2:53 pm
    Ponderer,
    HtS will not be able to explain how the 2016 Democratic primaries were rigged any more than he has been able to make a coherent argument that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Hillary won 16.8 million votes in the primaries compared to Bernie Sandersí 13.2 million votes. Thatís 55% to 43%.
    fivethirtyeight.com


  19. by HatetheSwamp on June 4, 2023 3:00 pm

    The proverbial deck was stacked in every possible way to give Hillary an advantage over any and all opponents.

    The rules were designed to anoint Hillary. No chance was taken. In 08, the expectation was that everyone who was anyone would back Hillary and she lost to The ONE. In 016 rules were created to make it as close to impossible for anyone but Hillary to win. pb's convinced that if the Dems ran a fair and truly open primary in 016, Hillary would not have won...and OrangeMan would not have been elected.


  20. by Curt_Anderson on June 4, 2023 3:46 pm
    Ponderer,
    Just as I said, HDS cannot give you a coherent theory for his claim. HTS offers a lot of hyperventilating, hysteria and hyperbole, but not a single fact.


  21. by HatetheSwamp on June 4, 2023 3:50 pm

    Back in the day, I loved watching Indy torture Curt with truth about the 016 Dem Primaries and, ultimately, Trump's election. D@ng! I miss Indy!!


  22. by Curt_Anderson on June 4, 2023 3:56 pm
    Indy was not torturing me. He was torturing logic. Like you, he was parroting the claims of a Russian disinformation campaign designed to assist Trump.


  23. by Donna on June 4, 2023 4:26 pm

    The Hillary haters on the left make the same claim as Hts. There's a kernal of truth to their claim of the primaries being rigged, but the elections were clean. The Hillary supporters in the DNC were underhanded in a few things they pulled, but none if it fell under the category of rigging IMHO. But I guess it comes down to what you consider as rigging.



  24. by HatetheSwamp on June 4, 2023 4:57 pm

    Presidential primaries are, by definition, not fair. Every four years, there are different rules. Party leadership sets the rules and, after Hillary's disaster in 08, the party, well, bosses absolutely created as clear a path to a Clinton victory as was possible.

    Back in the day, one of the realizes of Dem party politics was the open process of selecting the presidential nominee. Eugene McCarthy scared the bejeebers out of party leadership in 68. Jimmy Carter was a dark horse in 76. Same with Dukakis in 88 and Bubba Clinton in 92...and with the ONE in 08. That party is not the Dem party of ttoday. Sadly. pb was a Dem through all of those campaigns.

    You want openness and non white candidates, non males candidate? Try the GOP from 016 forward. In so many ways, the GOP is what the Dems were when we were young. Heck! OrangeMan in 016 stunned the GOP establishment in a way that Carter and Bubba and the ONE did when Dems were a party of the people.


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