When it was reported last week that Eric Cantor, who had just walked out of Biden's debt ceiling talks leaving Democrats to talk amongst themselves, was pushing for a "balance budget" amendment to the constitution, many took it as merely more posturing in the relentless debt ceiling drama that is rapidly approaching its inevitable conclusion (under one month left until August 3). It now appears that this may have been more than a bluff, at least to members of the Tea Party. According to the Huffington Post, "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is planning a Senate filibuster next week in an attempt to force debt ceiling negotiations into the open." More: '"We've had not one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee," he said in an interview with C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" that aired on Sunday. "We haven't had a budget in two years. We haven't had an appropriations bill in two years. So I'm part of the freshmen group in the Senate that's saying, 'no more.'" Paul's plan: "Next week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals."" He added that a group of senators in the "conservative wing" of the Republican Party will also be presenting a proposal to tie raising the debt limit to passage of a balanced budget amendment." So, just more posturing, which may now be indicative of the first splinters within the republican party, especially after John Cornyn said the GOP may accept a "mini deal" on raising the debt ceiling, or actual concerns about the debt hike that have to be appreciated? For now, at least judging by the market, the debt ceiling rise is a foregone deal.
"[W]e will actually vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling next week if we can, but it will be contingent on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution," he said, adding, "I'm not completely without the sense that we may need to raise the debt ceiling. But I will only do it if we have significant budgetary reform, and to me that means you have to balance your budget every year."
Paul's announcement picks up where Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-Wis.) one-man filibuster attempt last Tuesday left off. Johnson declared that as long as the debt ceiling negotiations are held behind closed doors, he would block all unanimous consent calls, effectively putting a stop on Senate business.
"Unless we receive some assurance from the Democrat leadership that we will actually start addressing our budget out in the open, in the bright light of day -- I will begin to object," Johnson said on the Senate floor.
Further indicating that Paul's noble attempts at curbing spending may be short-lived is a report from The Hill that Mitch McConnell, who has resisted a balanced budget amendment: "He argues that a balanced budget amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers, simply doesn’t have enough votes to pass the upper chamber. But this has put him out of step with some of the hard-charging conservative freshmen in the upper chamber."
At this point it is probably not even worth the time to look at who funds whom out of the abovementioneds, although for those curious, here is the complete list of McConnell's lifetime contributors. Hopefully it is a not a surprise to anyone.
|United Parcel Service||$74,600||$27,600||$47,000|
|Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald||$71,000||$75,000||$-4,000|
|Blue Cross/Blue Shield||$69,750||$37,250||$32,500|
Below is Paul's warning clip: