Bill Clinton on Debt Ceiling: "The Congress is Crazy"
Last night, former President Bill Clinton sat down with the National Memo for an exclusive interview on the debt ceiling, and he had some harsh criticisms for the ramshackle way the GOP is handling the debt ceiling negotiations. “I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy,” he said, and expressed that were it up to him, he would invoke the constitutional option to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default. National Memo:
“The reason that raising the debt limit is so unpopular is that people think you’re voting to keep [increasing] deficit spending, instead of voting to honor obligations that were already incurred,” he said. “I think [the Gingrich Republicans] figured I’d be smart enough to explain to the American people that they were refusing to pay for the expenses they had voted for when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were president. And that would make ‘em look bad.”
Obama could offer precisely the same explanation in the present circumstances, where most of the current debt can be traced to the profligate military spending and tax cuts of the last Bush administration. Just as the nation’s debt had tripled or quadrupled between 1981 and 1993, in the dozen years of Republican rule before Clinton’s first inauguration, as he points out, so the second Bush administration plunged the budget from surplus to deep deficit before Obama spent one penny on economic stimulus or anything else.
Although Clinton says that if he were in Obama’s place he would raise the debt ceiling without legislation – “if it came to that” -- he believes the crisis will be resolved before August 2. “It looks to me like they’re going to make an agreement, and that’s smart.”
Meanwhile, Tea Party Republicans continue their efforts to block McConnell's negotiation plans.