Call it clever timing or call it desperation. Either way, the taxpayers found an early lump of coal in their Christmas stockings this weekend. With the end of the year approaching, the Senate followed the path set by the House on Thursday and passed a massive, pork laden 1.1 $T spending bill, and now hopes to move forward on upping the federal debt limit by an additional 1.8 $T.
You’d be hard pressed to find any good news here, but it seems that even a few of the Democrats have begun to read the writing on the walls.
With the increased spending and more red ink provoking new Congressional alarm, a group of Democratic deficit hawks was insisting that Congress and the White House agree to new efforts to rein in the deficit or they would block a large increase in the debt limit.
Failure to increase the $12.1 trillion debt limit to cover federal borrowing could lead to a technical government default. As a result, the White House is eager to get some breathing room on the debt by the end of the year, giving lawmakers worried about deficit spending added power.
It looks like this is going to go through, but the Democrats in question are already threatening to make the increase temporary – perhaps only until February – unless their concerns over long term spending are addressed.
The proposal garnered zero votes from Republicans in the House, but they have a lot of ground to make up. They were hardly models of fiscal discipline during their last period in the majority and voters should be rightly wary. Still, if they’ve learned their lessons from the last two beatings they received, perhaps all is not lost.
Back here in New York, Congressman Maurice Hinchey voted in favor of the spending bill. This led to a response from his expected opponent next year, George Phillips.
NY 22nd Congressional District candidate George Phillips today issued a stern warning to Washington’s Democratic majority over their pending decision to pass a mammoth $1.1 trillion spending bill and to raise the federal debt ceiling by approximately $1.8 trillion.
“At the worst possible time, Congressional Democrats are continuing their free spending ways. While so many hard working Americans are struggling to keep their own fiscal houses in order, our elected leaders are still running up bills for their partisan agenda on a government credit card which they have no plan or ability to pay down.”
Phillips also criticized his opponent, Maurice Hinchey, who on Thursday voted yes on the proposed legislation.
“Maurice Hinchey has once again shown that he lacks the will to break with his party’s irresponsible tax and spend policies, even as so many New Yorkers continue to lose their jobs and fight to keep their heads above water. This is precisely the attitude shared by so many long entrenched members of Congress which brought us to the critical situation we are facing today.”
Expect to see a lot more of this from Republican candidates around the nation as we gear up for the battle of 2010. And every recent poll shows that people are listening.