If the GOP wants to default on national debt, then let’s stop paying their bills first. (More)

In light of last week’s stunt by House Republicans to force a vote on a clean bill to raise the debt limit that the GOP knew would fail, we here at Winning Progressive have two pieces of advice for our fellow Democrats in D.C.

First, Democrats need to stand together on this issue and support a clean debt ceiling bill as the only appropriate approach here.  As we’ve explained previously, raising the debt limit is absolutely critical to avoid a truly disastrous economic collapse that would make the Bush Recession look mild. Continuing their irresponsible ways, Republicans have put ideological zealotry ahead of the good of our country and are holding a debt ceiling increase hostage to massive cuts in social programs, including abolition of Medicare. If Democrats give into such hostage taking, the result would be ever increasing cuts to Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net, education, and infrastructure investment that our economy and people cannot afford. As such, Democrat should stick to their position that a clean vote on the debt limit is the only way to go, and that discussions about deficits should not occur with a gun pointed at our entire economy. Last week’s vote in the House was a bad first step away from such Democratic unity, but we encourage the Democrats to come together on this ASAP.

Second, the president should use the powers of the Executive branch and the bully pulpit to press Republicans to vote for a clean debt limit extension. He could do this in two ways: set the terms of this debate through a direct address to the American people explaining the situation and why there should be a clean up or down vote on raising the debt ceiling, or make clear that the administration will use the power of the Executive to do what he can to get Republicans to support raising the debt ceiling. That includes vetoing a debt ceiling bill that guts Medicare, Social Security, or other essential programs.

We’d love to see him tell the Republicans that if they cause a default, the first thing we are going to stop paying is salaries and benefits for Republican House and Senate members and their staffs. Next, we are going to stop paying contractors located in Republican districts and for federally-funded infrastructure projects in their districts. Then, shut down federal offices in Republican districts. In short, if Republicans want our country to experience life without a financially functioning government, they and their constituents should go through that experience first. But of course the president can’t do that. Unlike Republicans, he recognizes the Constitution and its limits.

We urge our readers to help turn the tables on this issue by using the Winning Progressive Letters to the Editor Campaign links to write to your local newspaper, and by contacting your Representatives and Senators, to explain:

  • why raising the debt limit is so important to our economy;
  • that you object to Republicans holding our economy hostage by putting their ideological zealotry ahead of raising the debt ceiling; and
  • why the House of Representatives and Senate should hold an up-or-down vote on a clean bill that would raise the debt ceiling.

(Cross-posted from Winning Progressive)