Famous anti-big-government libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul Tuesday called on Congress to vote against increasing the national debt limit. Paul voted against raising the debt ceiling in February and was joined by every one of the House Republicans. Now that the Republicans are in charge in the House, that once easy ideological vote is shaping up to be a another battle on the right.
The American Independent’s Patrick Caldwell:
Congress must vote to set a ceiling on the amount of debt the U.S. Department of Treasury can possess. Currently, that figure sits at $14.3 trillion, but the government will hit a wall in February 2011 where it will be unable to continue operating unless the debt limit is raised. Many of the newly elected Republicans hailing from the Tea Party wing of the party — including Paul’s son, Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — have questioned the necessity of raising the debt limit and pushed the vote as a possible platform to stand against the Obama administration.
Ron Paul called the coming vote a “litmus test” pitting Capitol Hill action against campaign stump rhetoric:
If the new Congress gives in to establishment pressure and media alarmism about “shutting down the government” by voting to increase the debt ceiling once again, you will know that the status quo has prevailed. You will know that Congress, despite the rhetoric of the midterm elections, is doing business as usual. You will know that the simple notion of balancing the budget, by limiting federal spending to federal revenue, remains a shallow and laughable campaign platitude.
In Colorado, the focus will be on newly elected GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton, both of whom ran on strong Tea party-style anti-debt fiscal-discipline change-government platforms. The Colorado Independent is attempting to contact both men.
New House Speaker John Boehner has said he’ll encourage a yay vote to extend the debt ceiling.
Caldwell on the ramifications of a nay vote:
What happens if the Republican House refuses to raise the debt ceiling? Potential economic catastrophe for the United States’ slow-growing economic recovery, according to Slate. The current debt limit would result in a government shut down, forcing the Obama administration to reduce government output in a drastic and rapid manner, removing resources currently fueling economic growth. There would also be havoc on the bond market, and the intransigence of Congress would indicate to international investors that the United States may be unable to meet its future debt obligations.