Do you ever listen to the comments made by the politicians and get the impression they need to go back to school? Maybe they all just need a history and Constitutional refresher course. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed history and I really like the quote “those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it”. Seems the politicians should consider that before opening their mouth.
For an example – next time a Democrat or a Liberal says Obamacare is the law of the land and that cannot be changed. Take a second and then say – “have you heard of Prohibition?” Just one of MANY examples.
They also need to remember just about everything they say is recorded – and with YouTube, we can access those recordings at any time. So, if you plan to say the request to raise the debt ceiling is a failure of leadership on the part of the president — it is likely to come back to bite you if you decide to run for president some day….
Back to the reason I’m talking about history. It seems Obama made yet another comment that could easily be debunked. This time it was proved wrong by the Washington Post. We’ve all heard this claim and I bet most of the people reading this blog won’t be surprised that its not true…
If you’d like more details about the history of the debt ceiling, check out this report.
Here are details from the Washington Post article –
“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.”
— President Obama, remarks to the Business Roundtable, Sept. 18, 2013
Generally, raising the debt ceiling has been routine and not especially controversial. But,as we have noted before, starting in 1953 during the Dwight Eisenhower administration, fiscal conservatives in Congress at times have used the debt limit as a way to force concessions by the executive branch on spending. Eisenhower, a Republican, had particular trouble with a Democrat, Sen. Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, over the debt ceiling because Byrd was skeptical of Eisenhower’s plans to build the national highway system.
That dispute was about a budget issue, which the president seemed to exclude in his comment. But unfortunately for the president’s claim, there are other, compelling examples that contradict it.
In 1973, when Richard Nixon was president, Democrats in the Senate, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Walter Mondale (D-Minn.), sought to attach a campaign finance reform bill to the debt ceiling after the Watergate-era revelations about Nixon’s fundraising during the 1972 election. Their efforts were defeated by a filibuster, but it took days of debate and the lawmakers were criticized by commentators (and fellow lawmakers) for using “shotgun” tactics to try to hitch their pet cause to emergency must-pass legislation.
President Obama said that GOP lawmakers now are trying to “extort” repeal of the health care law via the debt limit, but that’s also what Democrats wanted to do with President Nixon, who opposed the campaign-finance reforms.
Indeed, Linda K. Kowalcky and Lance T. LeLoup wrote in a comprehensive study of the politics of the debt limit, for Public Administration Review, that “during this period, the genesis of a pattern developed that would eventually become full blown in the mid-1970s and 1980s: the use of the debt ceiling vote as a vehicle for other legislative matters.”
Previously, they noted, the debt limit bill had been linked to the mechanics of debt management, but now anything was fair game. Major changes in Social Security were attached to the debt bill; another controversial amendment sought to end the bombing in Cambodia. Kowalcky and LeLoup list 25 nongermane amendments that were attached to debt-limit bills between 1978 and 1987, including allowing voluntary school prayer, banning busing to achieve integration and proposing a nuclear freeze.
In 1982, Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker unleashed a free-for-all by allowing 1,400 nongermane amendments to the debt ceiling legislation, which resulted in five weeks of raucous debate that mostly focused on limiting federal court jurisdiction over school payer and busing. The debt limit only passed after lawmakers decided to strip all of the amendments from the bill.
One of the most striking examples of a president being forced to accept unrelated legislation on a debt-ceiling bill took place in 1980. The House and Senate repealed a central part of President Jimmy Carter’s energy policy — an oil import fee that was expected to raise the cost of gasoline by 10 cents a gallon. Carter vetoed the bill, even though the United States was close to default, and then the House and Senate overrode his veto by overwhelming numbers (335-34 in the House; 68-10 in the Senate).
“Foes of the fee succeeded in linking the two measures to gain added leverage for killing the fee,” The Washington Post reported on Carter’s stunning defeat. “The Treasury Department immediately announced it was resuming the sale of bonds, which it suspended Thursday night when the debt ceiling expired.”