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The GOP's ploy couldn't be more obvious
 
If it wasn't already obvious that today's so-called "clean" debt limit bill is a political ploy, then all you need to do is read the legislation itself, especially the first section:
H.R. 1954: A bill to implement the President’s request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt.

SECTION 1. FINDING.

The Congress finds that the President’s budget proposal, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, necessitates an increase in the statutory debt limit of $2,406,000,000,000.

So if you vote for this bill, you're not just voting to raise the debt limit, you're also going on record in support of the absurd notion that President Obama's 2012 budget proposal is the reason why we need to increase the debt limit. In truth, we need to raise the debt limit because Congress—with Republicans in control of the House—has already passed a 2011 budget that requires an increase in the debt limit. And literally nobody has proposed a 2012 budget that wouldn't require an increase in the debt limit, not even folks like Rand Paul.

It would be one thing if this legislation had a chance of passing, but it doesn't—GOP leadership imposed a two-thirds vote requirement for passage, all but guaranteeing its defeat.

This is nothing more than a message bill, and as such, every single Democrat who votes today should vote against it. They can make it clear in statements for the record that they support a responsible increase in the debt limit, but they shouldn't let Republicans define the terms of the debate or put words in their mouths.

Republicans hope today's vote shows they have they aren't bluffing when they threaten to throw America into default on its obligations with Democrats agreeing to spending cuts. They want this vote to show they are committed to responsible fiscal policies. But that's bullshit. What Republicans really want—and Democrats have been doing a great job of hammering this home—is to end Medicare as we know it in order to pay for tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations. The GOP would rather cut Medicaid than end subsidies for oil companies.

The truth is that with their failed economic policies and massively expensive—and needless—wars, the Republican Party is responsible for our long-term debt problem. Now they want Democrats to go on record blaming President Obama for the problem they caused, and they want them to do it on a vote that is guaranteed to fail. That's not a game Democrats should play. They should vote no on the GOP's political debt limit bill.

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