The entire Senate Democratic caucus -- including independents Joe Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT) -- have a succinct message for House Speaker John Boehner: cram it!
In a Wednesday letter, the Democrats seek to prove what Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been saying for days: nobody in his party will vote for Boehner's debt limit plan, and he should stop claiming it's a viable solution to the looming default crisis.
Ouch. Not one non-GOP vote for Boehner's supposedly "bipartisan" plan. From the letter:
A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it. Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months. Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating. If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit. Even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide.
In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans.
If there were any rationality left in Washington, we'd do a clean debt bill and be done with it. It's not like the debate would be going away: mere months from now, there's a budget to be passed, and there's no way all of today's issues won't be coming right back up then, and I'm sure the tea party Republicans could find some grand hostages to take then, in exchange for screwing poor people just a little bit more or whatever else gets them motivated for these things. But at least we wouldn't be threatening to burn down our entire economy just for the partisan spite of it.
Sigh. Then again, I suppose that's the very point. The hostage takers aren't going to give up the hostages without a fight, and "we'll destroy the entire U.S. economy unless you give us what we want" has been the primary message all along.