Dick Morris: Debt Limit Fight Gives GOP Huge New Leverage


Like many Republicans, I’ve watched in frustration as the Democrats negotiate with themselves over their multitrillion-dollar “infrastructure” package, cramming in every social program they can think of under the guise of “human” infrastructure.

Until now we could only gnash our teeth in frustration because, with reconciliation, they could pass it with just Democratic votes.

But now the Treasury Department statement that we are about to hit the debt limit ceiling changes the complexion of this issue completely.

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In the debt limit battles during the Obama administration, the Democrats were able to get the upper hand by saying, “You voted to spend the money, now you can’t vote against borrowing to pay for it.”

But now the Democrats are spending the money with no Republican support.

Republicans should say, “We did not vote for your spending, and we won’t vote for your borrowing to pay for it.”

This argument gives Republicans a great place to stand to win the debate.

Also, by linking debt with Biden spending we open a second front in the battle against his budget-busting: not only inflation but now deficit spending and borrowing.

Some will object and say the debt limit is about accumulated spending, not particularly the new Biden proposals.

Democrats will say that the Biden spending will probably pass in September at the latest with the debt limit vote two months later so they can’t be linked.

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But neither of these arguments will make much difference in public opinion.

The linkage between Biden’s spending and the debt limit vote will make a rhetorical point of great importance in the 2022 midterm elections.

On the reconciliation package and the smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill, Republicans should say, “We will not support either of these bills until the Democrats make sufficient cuts in overall spending to obviate the necessity for an immediate debt limit increase.”

Every day that Biden fights for more spending amid the obvious inflation is a day he suffers and Republicans gain.

If we can inject the debt limit argument alongside this reality, it will have enormous political implications.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.