Will Democrats fold again or fight back?

CREDO action
Tell Senate Democrats: Abolish the debt ceiling

The petition to Senate Democrats reads:
"The Ryan/Murray budget bill wasn't a compromise, it was a big win for Republicans who have succeeded in moving the goal posts so far that Democrats voted for a budget that had spending levels below the original Paul Ryan budget.

With another debt ceiling showdown on the horizon, Democrats need to go on the offense now and adopt an aggressive strategy in advance of the next set of negotiations. Part of that should be pushing to abolish the debt ceiling, which serves no useful purpose other than to give the Republicans another opportunity to hold us all hostage to their extremist agenda."

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Dear 5849376,

No more Republican hostage-taking

The Senate just passed a two-year budget bill, and it's headed to the president's desk for his signature.

The politicos in Washington DC may be hailing this deal as a "compromise" or a good first step. But in fact, it's a big win for Republicans. Military spending goes up. Unemployment benefits for nearly 1.3 million Americans go away. Incredibly, this budget boasts spending levels lower than the original Paul Ryan budget.

How did we get here after the Democrats, led by Senate Majority Harry Reid with strong backing from President Obama, so thoroughly routed Republicans over the government shutdown in October?

It comes down to a deeply misguided and bipartisan belief in the myth that, with millions of Americans still suffering through the aftershocks of the economic collapse, what we really need right now is austerity and deficit reduction.

This is a budget that is both cruel and counterproductive -- we shouldn't be limiting government spending to levels below Paul Ryan's original and heartless budget proposal at a time when government spending is needed to lift us out of the economic slowdown.

And if this budget deal wasn't bad enough, in February we'll face another showdown over the debt ceiling. You can bet that Republicans will be ready to build on the change of momentum represented by this victory to extract even more concessions from Democrats in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

Tell Democrats: It's time to go on offense. Stop caving to Republicans and fight to abolish the debt ceiling before the next negotiation over revenues and spending. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The Republicans have now set their sights on the looming need to raise the debt ceiling as their next hostage-taking opportunity.

While thankfully the prospect of a grand bargain (a scenario where Democrats accept cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits in exchange for tax increases) has diminished, far too many Democrats support benefit cuts and many more are failing to adopt the type of aggressive posture that they'll need to stare down the Republicans.

If you want to see what aggressive looks like, look no further than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The budget hadn't even passed before Minority Leader McConnell said he'd use the February must-pass vote to raise the debt ceiling as another opportunity to extract budgetary concessions from Democrats.

This is what happens when the pretense of fiscal discipline is used to mask an extremist agenda that amounts to an unwavering commitment to the needs of the top 1 percent.

We need the Democrats to unabashedly adopt a posture that aggressively seeks to close loopholes that subsidize corporations and the wealthy and restore the cuts that Republicans have passed in their relentless attacks on vital programs benefiting the poor and the middle class.

Time and again, Democrats have compromised with Republican extremists, leading to deeply pernicious results, including the cruel and unconscionable refusal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for millions of Americans set to expire just three days after Christmas.

Democrats learned in October that they could win if they went on offense and refused to cave. The best way to bounce back from the recent setback and regain the momentum is for Democrats to set the stage for the next round of negotiations with an aggressive campaign to do away with the debt ceiling and end Republican hostage-taking of our economy.

Tell Democrats: Abolish the debt ceiling. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Despite the cries from Republicans about out-of-control government spending, the debt limit doesn't have much at all to do with spending.

Instead, the debt ceiling artificially prohibits the government from issuing new debt to pay the bills that are already due based upon previous budgets duly approved by Congress -- including budgets supported by many of the people who used the debt ceiling as an excuse to push their extremist agenda through blatant extortion.

While votes to raise the debt ceiling have traditionally been opportunities for members of Congress to grandstand, the severe consequences of not raising the debt ceiling have until recently served to ensure it was increased as a routine matter -- including seven times under George W. Bush.

But extremist Republicans -- many of whom voted for the tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans and the unfunded wars that caused our government deficit to explode -- have now twice tried to used the threat of a government default to hold the entire American economy hostage to their radical demands. The Democrats shouldn't sit back and let the Republicans do it again.

Tell Democrats: The debt ceiling serves no useful purpose other than to give Republicans a hostage and should be abolished. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:


Thank you for speaking out to stop Republican hostage-taking.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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