The Editorial Board at The Salt Lake Tribune published a searing op-ed on Wednesday blasting Republicans in the United States Senate for playing a “ridiculous game of political chicken” that threatens to blow up the COVID-19 economic recovery.
The GOP’s hypocritical brinksmanship over funding the federal government to avert a partial shutdown and its refusal to negotiate to raise the pointless debt limit could “push the global economy into a horrible recession just for the chance to make the Democrats, who now hold the White House and razor-thin majorities in Congress, look bad,” the Board wrote. “This is not responsible governing. This is a political death cult.”
The paper took special aim at Utah’s two Republican Senators – Mitt Romney and Mike Lee – “for supporting such destructive actions” and called for them and any other “play-acting fiscal conservatives” to resign if they are unwilling to do their jobs.
The Board pointed out that Romney has disingenuously stated that lifting the Treasury Department’s borrowing limit would green-light new spending, which is completely false. Increasing the debt limit enables the government to pay for debts it has already incurred, such as former President Donald Trump’s massive tax giveaway to the rich in 2017 and the various stimulus bills that were passed – with unusual bipartisan cooperation – to prevent the gut-punched economy from imploding under the weight of the coronavirus crisis.
The Board also noted the duplicitously insidious nature of the GOP’s opposition to keeping the government open and ensuring that it can fulfill its financial obligations:
The Republican line on this is that the growth of federal spending and of the national debt is a Democratic creation and so, if Congress is to keep the Federal Reserve’s printing press operating, it will have to be with all Democratic votes. In theory, that’s doable. Yet when Charles Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, moved Monday to pass a bill that would keep the government running and the debts paid, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell used Senate rules to block the vote. Which he was able to do only because none of the Republicans in the Senate — including Romney and Utah’s other senator, Mike Lee — broke ranks to do the responsible thing. The GOP argument also ignores the indisputable fact that the shape of the budget and the size of the debt have as many Republican fingerprints on them as Democratic. For the Republicans to blame the size of the debt on Democrats, when it is the Trump-era tax cuts that are at the center of the current deficit, is dishonest.
While Lee was pretty much filed away as an irredeemable, right-wing lost cause, the Board urged Romney to “do the right thing about keeping the government funded and the debts paid. Certainly, he would derive no personal pleasure from watching the national and global economies crater just for the chance to blame it — falsely — on the Democrats,” adding that “the senator’s fiscally responsible Utah constituents should let him know how they feel about all this.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.