Establishment Republicans in Congress soon will have a chance to demonstrate why they should be defeated at the polls in the fall.
The Treasury Department this week told Congressional leaders that the government has borrowed as much as it can ($16.4 trillion) and that President Barack Obama wants their cooperation in pushing us deeper into debt.
Democrats, led by Obama, have been the primary drivers of the debt since 2008, but Republicans have been guilty, too, and we see that in the nation's new 1,582-page $1.1 trillion budget signed last week by an almost giddy Barack Obama.
Establishment Republicans had voted for the measure, and one of them, our own Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, called it "fiscally responsible."
Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state and one of the budget's architects, would agree.
In a press release, Murray boasted that she had "secured dozens of wins" for her state, including $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund ($15 million more than Obama had sought) and $25 million for restoring the Puget Sound ecosystem ($8 million more than Obama sought).
"Fiscally responsible"? Not really. But give Murray credit. She at least read the bill.
Now we're facing a debt limit again, and Obama is pounding on the doors to the Capitol. "More credit. More credit. Give me more credit for (fill in the blank)."
The Republicans have three options at this point. They can join hands with Democrats and sing "Kumbaya." They can beg for some face-saving concessions and then sing "Kumbaya." Or they can stand and say, "No, this must stop."
At this writing, it looks as though Rep. John Boehner, speaker of the House, is going after concessions. According to a spokesman, Boehner says a "clean" debt limit increase won't pass in the House. "We hope and expect the White House will work with us on a timely, fiscally responsible solution."
Translation: You'll get your debt limit increase, Mister President, but we Republicans will need some crumbs so we can keep our jobs.
What a waste of a good position!
The GOP could stop the madness, but apparently they're not even going to try. Consider:
- A full 66 percent of the American people think Obama has mishandled the debt.
- Raising the debt is flirting with financial meltdown. In 2011, Standard & Poors downgraded the nation's credit worthiness from AAA to AA-plus, and another downgrade may not be far behind.
- The politics is with Republicans.
Obama has alienated the nation in more ways than we can count. His latest insult: Threatening to bypass Congress. "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone." That's dictator talk, and all members of Congress- Republicans and Democrats - should turn their backs on this president. He has earned their contempt.
And then there are the mid-term elections. Every seat in the House and one-third of the seats in the Senate are on the ballot this year, and politicians who want to keep their jobs would have an easier time if they heed the will of the people and cap the debt.
Finally: We've all heard Obama's red herring about the country defaulting on its credit obligations if the debt limit isn't raised. More Obama lies.
His budget for 2014 includes about $223 billion for interest on the debt and about $1.7 trillion in tax revenue. Thus, there's plenty of income to service our debt, and a default would occur only if the president orders it.
Peter Ferrara, a former associate deputy attorney general, got it right last October in an essay for Forbes magazine.
"(I)n my opinion, it would be an impeachable offense for President Obama to default on the national debt in violation of the Constitution when he has the available resources. Perhaps the House Judiciary Committee opening impeachment hearings and taking testimony on this point would help President Obama decide how to prioritize."