Congress hasn't yet prevented one potential government shutdown, and the next one is right around the corner. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that our nation will hit the debt ceiling on October 17th. At that point, the Treasury Department will have only $30 billion dollars in cash on hand. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Secretary Lew wrote, “This amount would be far short of the net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion [dollars].” He warned that if Congress doesn't raise the debt limit, “it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history.”
But, rather than working on a reasonable plan to prevent an economic disaster, House Republicans have prepared the long list of demands they want met before raising the debt limit. Those demands include approving the Keystone XL pipeline, weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, cutting more than $100 billion dollars from federal health programs, and – of course – delaying Obamacare for another year.
Essentially, Republicans want President Obama to pretend he didn't win the last presidential election, and agree to nearly every major right-wing policy idea. And, House Republicans say they're willing to hold our entire economy hostage until their demands are met. President Obama has vowed not to negotiate over our nation's debt limit, but one side is going to have to give in to avoid a financial crisis. This is no way to run a government. This is an economic game of chicken that puts our nation at risk for a major disaster, and millions of Americans are waiting to see who blinks first.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.