McConnell’s Last Stand: He Wants Medicare, Social Security Cuts To Raise Debt Limit

In case anyone thought things couldn’t get more chaotic on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell appears ready to set them straight. McConnell, according to a report first published by CNN, plans to make several major demands of the White House, including changes to Medicare, Social Security, and EPA regulations as his price for raising the nation’s debt limit.

The report from CNN’s Manu Raju complicates the already fraught debate over whether and how to increase the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow the money it needs to pay the nation’s debts. Failure to allow additional borrowing would, at some point in early November, force the United States into default. U.S. government debt is viewed as the safest in the world – the closest thing there is to a risk-free asset. Allowing the government to default on its obligations would send shock waves throughout not just the U.S., but the global economy.

As it is, the Treasury Department hit the debt ceiling months ago, and has been relying on extraordinary measures, like delaying payments into pension funds, in order to pay the government’s bills.

So, what is McConnell thinking? Some analysts believe a combination of factors is in play, including McConnell’s own troubles with a restive right wing, and the sense that for the GOP, it’s now or never in terms of achieving some of its policy goals.

“Yes, a little bit of it is obviously the ghost of John Boehner,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. However, he added, for the past nine months, Republicans have had their largest numerical advantage in Congress in generations, and so far have little to show for it.

“He has the largest number they’ve had since the 1930s,” said O’Connell. “If there was a time to do this it’s between now and 2016. The one thing Republicans don’t want to hear is wait until the next election. It’s a tired hymn.”

Read more from Rob Garver at The Fiscal Times

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