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Chuck Todd: GOP Are Being ‘Absurd,’ Trying ‘To Punish the American Economy’

chuck-todd:-gop-are-being-‘absurd,’-trying-‘to-punish-the-american-economy’

On Tuesday’s MTP Daily on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd battled Indiana Sen. Mike Braun over the GOP’s refusal to assist the Democrats in passing their agenda by raising the debt ceiling. According to Todd, the GOP have been playing “Russian Roulette” and threatening to “punish the American economy” with an “absurd” “game of chicken.”

Todd was combative from the beginning, “Let me ask you this, I understand you don’t want to vote for the debt ceiling and I know where you are on debt issues, but explain to me why filibustering it is good for the country.”

Braun responded by pointing out the reality of proposed government spending: “[W]e’ve never had nearly $6 trillion of new above and beyond spending teed up and no votes on the other side to do it.” But, Todd still wasn’t buying it, asking “why play with the economy, why play Russian Roulette with the economy just because you can, just to make a political point? There are better ways to do it than this, are there not?” 

After Braun once again explained it is about the principle of opposing new Democratic spending, Todd tried the hypocrisy angle, “So the President — President Trump’s tax bill was a big mistake in your mind, then, right? Wasn’t paid for, added to the deficit and — and so the debt — so, you know, you would not support raising the debt ceiling to help pay for that, either?”

Braun countered by trying to explain to Todd that, “pre-COVID, I was communicating with the CBO: Are we revenue neutral? Did we hit the sweet spot where we were raising wages? And, yes, we did cut taxes, but it was so close to paying for itself.” 

The self-described political referee kept lashing out (click “expand”):

TODD: Again, why play with the American economy and use the — this arbitrary phony issue, statutory power that Congress has that is literally just a magical line in the sand that Congress creates, why use this as a way to punish the American economy? This is, you’ve said it yourself, it’s — there’s nowhere — it’s not a Republican debt or a Democratic debt, it’s an American debt and it’s been accumulated by all Americans. Why should the Republicans stay on the sidelines here? Why should you be responsible for governing if you’re going to be irresponsible when in the minority? 

BRAUN: A couple things. Whenever we’ve raised the debt ceiling in the past, it’s mostly been under divided government. This is one of the first times when you have all the tools to raise it yourself and, again, the difference is I cut it off at the end of last fiscal year. We don’t even have appropriations going on and that’s guilty under Republicans as well until the beginning of the next fiscal year, but this total of 6 to 7 trillion is above and beyond the normal baseline spending we do that has trillion dollar deficits annually. This is making a new statement that will raise the ceiling to accommodate something that’s above and beyond what we’ve ever done before and to me that’s the difference.  

Todd was still not prepared to let the issue go. He declared the GOP’s tactics to be “a game of chicken though, Senator. It looks absurd to the average person. It’s why, it’s why people hate politics when you play a legislative tactical game like this. Everybody knows it has to be raised, including Senator McConnell, nobody wants to face that catastrophic issue of not raising it. You just simply want to stay on the sidelines and let the other guys do it. It just looks — it looks dysfunctional on purpose.”

Braun would once again try to explain that the GOP won’t assist the Democrats in passing their agenda, but Todd interrupted: “So crash the economy?”

The senator ignored Todd’s straw man, arguing the Democrats’ spending plan “is not needed in the economy at this stage.”

Seeing as how Todd is busy channeling his wife and being a partisan activist, we’ll leave with the inconvenient truth for him: Democrats are the ones who control all three elected parts of the government, not Republicans.

This segment was sponsored by Subway. Their contact information is linked at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

Here is a transcript for the September 28 show:

MSNBC’s MTP Daily

September 28, 2021

1:41 PM ET

CHUCK TODD: Senator Braun, welcome. Let me ask you this, I understand you don’t want to vote for the debt ceiling and I know where you are on debt issues, but explain to me why filibustering it is good for the country. 

SENATOR MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): I think it’s because, Chuck, of where we’ve arrived in the short time I’ve been here. I got here a little under three years ago and we were $18 trillion in debt and I think it’s one thing when you’ve been here for a while, I generally vote on principle and if it’s even something I like policy-wise, if it doesn’t have a true pay for like an offset, a new stream of funding, I’m going to vote against it. Many here have not done that and how we got here, it’s been an equal opportunity endeavor because Republicans and Democrats up until recently have said whatever is happening here, trillion dollar deficits that we run annually, you shrug it off. I think the difference here is — and that’s why you’re going to see some things get dramatized — is we’ve never had nearly $6 trillion of new above and beyond spending teed up and no votes on the other side to do it. So I’m the first to admit that this has been a long journey to get to where we are and I want to see the place reformed where you vote on principle not policies that you’ll roll over for if you like it. And I think that’s the difference this time. 

TODD: All right. But the debt ceiling is a silly — it’s an arbitrary figure, it’s silly, it makes no sense other than giving Congress a tool to play a political — tactical, political game. Isn’t this what’s wrong with American politics? I mean, why play with the economy, why play Russian Roulette with the economy just because you can, just to make a political point? This seems — there are better ways to do it than this, are there not? 

BRAUN: I mean, for the part of the debt that’s been accumulated prior to the rescue bill and the 3.5 trillion plus the other, you know, around 4 trillion that we are going to spend, that’s different, and I think that, yes, if you are doing it just to make a point and you’ve been part of the problem in the past, that’s going to fall short for many people out there scratching their head about it, but here to me, I think there is a distinction, there wasn’t one Republican vote for the rescue bill or this now going through and even though it seems like an epiphany, which I think you can take us to task on, not a guy like me, I came here to fight the dysfunction to where we won’t use regular order, we don’t take it through committees, we don’t do what any other entity local, state government running a business would do, you can’t run the biggest business in the world, the federal government, by the seat of its pants like we’ve been doing it for decades. 

TODD: So the President — President Trump’s tax bill was a big mistake in your mind, then, right? Wasn’t paid for, added to the deficit and — and so the debt — so, you know, you would not support raising the debt ceiling to help pay for that, either? 

BRAUN: So, the CBO had costed that out at 1.5 trillion over ten years, $150 billion a year, and, Chuck, pre-COVID, I was communicating with the CBO: Are we revenue neutral? Did we hit the sweet spot where we were raising wages? And, yes, we did cut taxes, but it was so close to paying for itself. This is so different from that and, yes, if we’re cutting taxes and still spending like drunken sailors, shame on us. That’s what both parties have done over decades. I came here to be honest about it and to try to put some reforms in place like no budget, no pay. If you don’t have a hearing, you’re not going to get a vote. I’d love to see a balanced budget amendment. Of course, nobody wants to do that. They campaign on it and have amnesia once they get here.

TODD: Yeah.

BRAUN: We need reforms for the sake of this place being there for all the people that depend on it, especially retirees, for health and retirement and it’s not going to be there and that’s because we’ve run it so poorly over the runs over the years, both sides to blame.

TODD: Again, why play with the American economy and use the — this arbitrary phony issue, statutory power that Congress has that is literally just a magical line in the sand that Congress creates, why use this as a way to punish the American economy? This is, you’ve said it yourself, it’s — there’s nowhere — it’s not a Republican debt or a Democratic debt, it’s an American debt and it’s been accumulated by all Americans. Why should the Republicans stay on the sidelines here? Why should you be responsible for governing if you’re going to be irresponsible when in the minority? 

BRAUN: A couple things. Whenever we’ve raised the debt ceiling in the past, it’s mostly been under divided government. This is one of the first times when you have all the tools to raise it yourself and, again, the difference is I cut it off at the end of last fiscal year. We don’t even have appropriations going on and that’s guilty under Republicans as well until the beginning of the next fiscal year, but this total of 6 to 7 trillion is above and beyond the normal baseline spending we do that has trillion dollar deficits annually. This is making a new statement that will raise the ceiling to accommodate something that’s above and beyond what we’ve ever done before and to me that’s the difference.  

(….)

1:48 p.m. Eastern

TODD: It’s a game of chicken, though, Senator. It looks absurd to the average person. It’s why, it’s why people hate politics when you play a legislative tactical game like this. Everybody knows it has to be raised, including Senator McConnell, nobody wants to face that catastrophic issue of not raising it. You just simply want to stay on the sidelines and let the other guys do it. It just looks — it looks dysfunctional on purpose.

BRAUN: They spent every penny of above and beyond spending with the 2 trillion we did, the 4 trillion they’re going to ram through — 

TODD: So crash the economy? 

BRAUN: — without a Republican vote and — and that is not needed in the economy at this stage. We’re going to have to navigate through the COVID part of it over a period of time and the thing that worries me would be something like the vaccine mandate, which that is going to be the most crippling feature that’s descended from here down to Main Street that we all have to contend with. I just met with the prison bureau where they’ve got 750 employees in Indiana and they’ve got 50 percent vaccinated and they think half of the remaining employees, half of them, nearly 175 employees are going to leave and that doesn’t have anything to do with the private mandate —

TODD: Yeah

BRAUN: — on businesses, 100 and larger, and that changes the rules from the CARES help we did when there were 500 employees and less, that’s been lowered to 100. I think we had a lot of things going in the right direction, a lot of these recent policies makes me wonder does it have things to do with the Southern border, Afghanistan and other things that are piling up and you’re making one bad decision after another.

TODD: Well, it’s — it’s hard — I don’t see the logic in making it — going out of your way to make it harder for the economy to come back on this issue, but I understand it’s a partisan decision that both parties, I guess at times, can claim they make, but this one feels intentionally disruptive.

What do you think?

Written by Newsman

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