Dianne Feinstein has put her foot down: she’s teamed up with the Fiscal-Scold-Seven on Social Security and Medicare. She won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling (required within a month or Uncle Sam defaults) without a law establishing a "bipartisan commission" that’s sure to ruin Baby Boomer benefits just as the Democratic coalition cracks over choice and Stupak.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is joining 6 [sic] other Senators to demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi approve a commission to recommend cuts to Medicare and Social Security – or else they’ll refuse to vote to increase the US government’s debt ceiling:
Congress is under pressure to raise the cap on what the federal government can borrow by mid-December. If the debt ceiling is not raised above its current $12.1 trillion mark by then, the government will exceed its borrowing limits and will be forced to default on the debt. Economists have warned that the inevitable result would be a lowering of the U.S. credit rating, triggering substantial increases in the interest rates the government is already paying.
Look at the lovely crowd welcoming DiFi to their travesty:
But before Tuesday’s hearing was over, Sens. Conrad, Gregg, Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) publicly vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling if a budget reform commission bill doesn’t come along with it.
Great. Just great.
Kent Conrad, who thinks co-ops will work for health care. Judd "I was almost Barack Obama’s Commerce Secretary" Gregg, Evan "Married to Wellpoint" Bayh, Mark "Telecom Millionaire" Warner, Short Ride Joe, Lame Duck George and Jeff "Couldn’t Get Confirmed as a Federal Judge" Sessions.
What a team.
It’s absolutely shameful. Dianne Feinstein should not be lending her name to this effort, a response to the Fiscal Scolding of billionaire Pete Peterson who fears he’ll have to pay his share of taxes when Baby Boomers demand our due.
Is the White House on board with this effort? Obama’s team has bucked up the Fiscal Scold play in the past, but endangering Uncle’s credit by talk of default is no path to success on the President’s Asia trip.
Any problems America’s elected leaders foresee with Social Security and Medicare need to be solved in the light of day where Americans can see what’s happening; we’ve learned from health care reform how bad things can get when policy is made in the back rooms.
Chris Bowers defines what the Fiscal Scold Seven (and DiFi) want:
Let’s review the threat that these five Democrats are making:
* They will allow the United States to default on its debt, which will vastly increase the overall amount we have to pay on our debt
* Speaker Nancy Pelosi turns over Congressional power on Social Security and Medicare to an unelected commission that will almost certainly propose deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare entitlements. Keep in mind that deep cuts to Social security and Medicare that pass under a Democratic trifecta would doom the party at the ballot box for years to come.
This is completely insane, and there is no choice but to call this bluff.
The Speaker needs to call this bluff. It’s an unconscionable way to legislate and needs to be smacked down. It will also trump Stupak as the ruination of the Democratic coalition, for decades to come.
[Ed. note: Be sure to read David Dayen's related post on fiscal scolds at this link.]