The spanking new – and precariously narrow – Republican majority in the House of Representatives is off to an entirely predictable stumbling start. After taking a historic fifteen votes to crown their so-called leader, Kevin McCarthy, they immediately passed a rules package that neutered him, insuring that he will be a weaker Speaker than any of his modern predecessors.
Naturally, the first priority of a Republican politician intent on pedaling positive propaganda, is to book a visit with Sean Hannity of Fox News. Which is precisely what McCarthy did Tuesday night. He brought along twenty of his closest comrades to turn the Capitol into a Fox News studio annex. And even though McCarthy had previously showered his lord and savior, Donald Trump, with gratitude, Trump was apparently too busy spinning lies about President Biden to join them.
Undeterred, McCarthy took full advantage of the platform that Hannity provided to disseminate Republican ignorance and lies. And true to form, McCarthy exhibited his utterly shameless ability to put into, what marginally passes for English, a perspective of the world that bears no resemblance to reality. For instance, he sat proudly in silence as Hannity praised him for expanding the “diversity” of the Republican Party.
“One of the things I’d like to see and am seeing is more diversity in the Republican Party. To me the Democratic Party is the party of coastal elites.”
Elaborating on that, McCarthy’s chair of the House Republican Conference, Elise Stefanik, said to…
“Take a look around at these wonderful members. This is the most diverse class of Republicans ever elected in the history of the United States Congress.”
"This is the more diverse class of Republicans ever elected" — Elise Stefanik pic.twitter.com/bEBDuM90Go
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 11, 2023
Go ahead. Take a look around. The members gathered to celebrate “the most diverse class of Republicans ever elected” are all white, and with just three exceptions, men. In fact, the 117th session of Congress had 58 Black members, of whom 56 were Democrats. Republicans just doubled their Black members in the new 118th session to four. And they’re proud of that?
As for Hannity’s boasting about this pitiful representation by people of color, his lament about “coastal elites” is painfully hypocritical. Hannity divides his residency between his homes in New York and Florida. And he’s whining about these nefarious coast dwellers to McCarthy, who represents a district in California.
For good measure, Hannity invited McCarthy to further embarrass himself by bringing up the issue of the debt ceiling, which Republicans have promised to exploit in order to blackmail Democrats into acceding to GOP demands to cut Social Security and Medicare. That led to this exchange…
Hannity: Now let’s get to the issue of finances and money and spending. Why don’t explain how this process now will be different, and we’re coming up against the debt ceiling vote and what that’s gonna mean. That might be the first test of how committed the Republican Party in the House is to really holding the line on spending. Am I wrong on that?
McCarthy: No, you’re not wrong on that. One of the greatest threats we have for this nation is our debt. It makes us weak in every place that we can. We have never been at this high of debt to GDP except during World War II. And what are we funding? Wasteful Washington spending much of the time.
“So we think if you had a child and you gave him a credit card, and they kept hitting the limit, do you just increase the limit, or do you change their behavior? This is our moment to change the behavior to make sure that hard working taxpayer, that we’re not wasting their money. Do you mean to tell me there’s not waste out there? So we’re gonna look at every single dollar spent. We’re gonna audit. We’re change our behavior so we can balance our budget and make us stronger.
Kevin McCarthy during interview with Hannity compares Congress to children who max out a credit card and need to have their behavior changed pic.twitter.com/ZokS5nSnmJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 11, 2023
The child with a credit card analogy is flat out ridiculous. Raising the debt ceiling does not impact in any way whatsoever how much money congress can appropriate. It only makes it possible for the Treasury to pay debts already incurred. If the U.S. defaults on those debts it would send the nation – and the world – into a severe recession or worse. If McCarthy were truly interested in reducing the debt, he would do what Biden and the Democrats have been doing that resulted in the deficit declining by $1.4 trillion last year.
For the record, Trump increased the debt by nearly $8 trillion dollars. Much of that was due to his tax cut that benefited corporations and the wealthy. And now McCarthy and the GOP are proposing to defund the IRS and deprive the agency of necessary resources to audit high income individuals and businesses. That is estimated to cost more than $114 billion dollars.
What’s more, Republicans don’t seem eager to “change their behavior.” They aren’t proposing any serious spending cuts, other than those for the safety net programs that middle and lower income Americans rely on. Meanwhile, they continue to push for even more tax cuts and for maintaining subsidies for wealthy, multinational corporations – who don’t pay taxes.
Then, after running up the debt, Republicans want to default on those obligations after the fact. It almost seems like they are deliberately trying to crash the economy during Biden’s presidency and prior to the 2024 presidential election. Now why do you suppose they would want to do that? and for whom?
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