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Rob Horowitz: House Republicans Hold Debt Ceiling Hostage—Again

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


With the October 15 deadline for the debt ceiling increase looming, tensions are rising.

It was only a little over two years ago that an unprecedented extended fight over raising the debt ceiling and paying the bills already incurred by the United States led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the nation’s credit rating. Unfortunately, some House Republicans learned nothing from that debacle. The Tea Party Wing of the House Republican Majority is once again holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, threatening default as the Oct. 15 deadline for another increase in the debt ceiling fast approaches.

A main reason for the 2011 downgrade was the debt ceiling fight itself. "The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as American governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become bargaining chips in this debate over fiscal policy,” the Standard & Poor’s report issued at the time of the decision explained.

Wake-up call

Part of the problem in 2011 was that many House members believed nothing would happen if we did not raise the debt ceiling. Recognizing this fact, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invested time and energy in bringing in Republican financial and budget experts to explain to his members that they were playing with fire. It was only when the business community weighed in that some of these ill-informed skeptics finally believed action was required.

This time some House Republicans are threatening to block an increase in the debt ceiling unless implementation of Obamacare is delayed for a year. These are not just the irresponsible noises of some Republican backbenchers: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) added his support last week.

Need to compromise

Continuing to carve out wiggle room, Speaker Boehner did not sign on to the specific Obamacare threat putting his conditions for debt ceiling approval in more general terms. “You can’t talk about increasing the debt limit unless you’re willing to make changes and reforms,” said the Speaker.

Boehner understands the political damage to the Republican brand--not to mention the harm to the economy-- that would be caused by a failure to adopt a debt ceiling increase. But his maneuvering room is limited by the hardcore in his caucus who consistently put narrow ideology ahead of the national interest, refusing any compromise.

In a tough competitive global economy, the fact that the full, faith, and credit of the United States stands for a dead solid guarantee of repayment is an enormous economic asset. That is why there is a tradition of bi-partisan support and routine adoptions for debt ceiling increases. As the deadline draws near, let’s hope that tradition is restored with enough House Republicans learning from 2011 to prevent debt ceiling déjà vu. The early signs are not all that encouraging.


Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


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What a crock.

If anyone ran a business like this administration is running the country, they would be out of business in no time. Oh wait, Solydra come to mind? Guess who is stuck with THAT bill when Democrats spend tax payers' money they don't have to account for.

Someone has to be the adult in the room, or the Congress. You can't spend money on frivolity that you don't have. Instead of more parties and vacations for Moochelle, how about opening up the White House for student visits?

Voters need to open their eyes and see that this administration and all the lapdog media are lying to them. Stop the spending. The billions of dollars wasted on useless fodder.

Morons like Reid and Pelosi as well as anyone in the media targeting the T.E.A. Party as a scapegoat are just lying about the problem.

It's GOVERNMENT SPENDING for those with limited comprehension, otherwise known as Democrats and their sock-puppets in the media.

Stop the blame game Democrats and do your damned job, get the country back in shape. Follow those who want to help the country instead of calling them hostage takers.

People as a whole claim they want politicians to tell the truth but when they do about these issues, these same people call these politicians obstructionists or other pejoratives.

The truth is out there if you get away from the lapdog media and their Obama propaganda!


*Never forget Benghazi*

Comment #1 by Killary Klinton on 2013 09 17

More rock throwing by a partisan democratic political "consultant" who is awaiting trial on violating RI Election Laws.

Comment #2 by Phil Hirons Jr on 2013 09 17

typical liberal comments..

all negativity....just trash the other side...

believe me I am no fan of glenn beck, I can tolerate Hannity and orielly but this is just garbage.

why don't you do a column on the debacle that just occurred within your party in the last 2 weeks. 80% of libs\dems are saying no and Obama and Kerry are ready to start world war 3. they are dealing with people who have no bounds and they don't even know it.

Kerry and Obama both suffer from grossly oversized egos that enable them to think they can solve any problem. I think Obama actually thinks he can walk on water.

putin, a kgb agent all his life, and Obama, a faux community organizer. putin played him like a fiddle. ate Obama for lunch.....

Comment #3 by john paycheck on 2013 09 17

In my humble opinion, after reading many of his columns, Rob Horowitz seems like a decent guy -- a liberal fantasy-lander who is certainly no hardened socialist type, but someone who believes that government can just spend, spend and spend without consequence.

The country is nearly $17 trillion in debt, yet the liberal Democrats want to just keep racking it up, devaluing the currency, handing out funny money to anyone who will vote for them, and generally behaving as if no one will have to pay for anything.

Debt ceiling? We'll just raise it! Programs and obligations? We'll just create more and more! The future? What future?! Let's just whip out the credit card!

Note: this kind of loss of rationality and common sense is what led to the fall of the Romans.

Comment #4 by Art West on 2013 09 17

In then Senator Obama's own words...

"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic."

If 9T is unpatriotic--what is a debt of 17T????


Comment #5 by Mike Govern on 2013 09 17

Well said Mike McGovern. Seems Horowitz has selective memory. How is NOT going into further debt 'holding hostage'?

Comment #6 by joe pregiato on 2013 09 17

The Republican rubes believe that their best political strategy is to do everything possible to make Preident Obama (and our country) fail.

The word for this behavior is treason.

Comment #7 by Sammy Arizona on 2013 09 17


Read Obama's own words above in Mike Govern's post -- then reconsider your statement.

Comment #8 by Art West on 2013 09 17

Mr Horowitz, I would find your subhead “Need to compromise” refreshing coming from a Socialist Democrat—if you actually meant it.

Your leader Obama has already declared: “I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.”

That declaration has two parts:

“I will not negotiate.”
Nothing new there. Obama is a partisan who does not believe in compromise. He is no diplomat. He truly finds it outrageous that Republicans dare to oppose Democrats.

The second part contains a lie.
It implies that the issue is whether or not the US should pay it’s bills. The issue in fact is out-of-control spending. The Republicans want to compromise. Compromise needs to be on both sides. Give us some spending cuts and we’ll give you the votes you need to raise the debt ceiling. Get it Mr. Horowitz? That is what is called compromise.

The hold that the Socialist Democrats have on this country is rather tenuous. You have the President (who won by 51.1% of the votes) and a slight majority in the Senate. The Republicans have the House. So who is holding whom hostage?

Comment #9 by James Berling on 2013 09 17

You know what I love? All but Sammy Arizona get it. Dems rely on the uninformed, indoctrinated, low information voter. And there are plenty of them---Sammy is one of them. He's what the Dems rely on.

Comment #10 by joe pregiato on 2013 09 18

We’ve gotten so used to Democrat lies and half truths that we tend to ignore them. We let them pass. That doesn’t work. When we let lies go unchallenged the low information voter assumes they are true. That is the Democrat’s no. 1 technique. They don’t want to debate issues. They float lies—and if unchallenged they sink in and the low information voter takes them as truth.

Call ‘em on it!

Comment #11 by James Berling on 2013 09 18

I'll be thrilled if congress can come to terms in the next two weeks.

Comment #12 by Redd Ratt on 2013 09 18

Mr. Horowitz,

I hope you are not teaching your philosophies to the URI community.
I would hate to have my dollars supporting your agenda. You have obviously had the Kool-Aid. We can play the blame game all day. Lets start. Has the Obama administration presented a budget for the last five years? Has sequester been used to hurt the public? Why is the pipe line not been approved? Why is the administration covering up Benghazi? What is the 'true" unemployment rate? Why are we 17 trillion in debt?
Are we better off now then we were in 2008? I haven't even gone down the affordable health care act.........etc.etc.etc......
Curious minds want to know??????

Comment #13 by Don Dunwoody on 2013 09 19

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