We ask you to convene a caucus to discuss and establish a Democratic position in favor of a clean extension of the debt ceiling.
The debt ceiling vote is about one thing: affirming that America pays its bills. It does not authorize new taxpayer obligations; it affirms to the world our commitment to pay obligations already incurred.
To do otherwise, or to threaten to do so, or to leverage our duty to pay our bills to achieve a partisan advantage in budget disputes, jeopardizes the full faith and credit of the United States of America.
On Tuesday, Tammy Baldwin, and the other signers of Welch's letter, got their wish when the House considered an increase in the debt ceiling without any spending cuts as part of the bill. Baldwin took the opportunity to vote against the debt ceiling increase.
To recap: In late April Tammy Baldwin signed a letter calling for a clean bill raising the debt ceiling. When she got that bill at the end of May, she voted against raising the debt ceiling.
No one would believe it was Baldwin's plan to oppose the increase all along, so what changed? Obviously it was the decision by Senator Herb Kohl to not seek re-election to the Senate in 2012. I don't actually know why Baldwin has changed her tune, but it doesn't take a cheesehead Machiavelli to surmise that she might not want to campaign statewide having just voted to raise the debt ceiling without any reductions in spending.
Democrats keep telling us that we've been reading too much into the results of 2010, but it appears Ms. Baldwin still believes the anti-spending sentiment of that season is alive and well.
Representative Ron Kind seems to have had the political sense to avoid signing the Welch letter in the first place. Representative Gwen Moore voted for the debt ceiling increase. Since taxing future generations to fund current entitlements seems to be the current Democratic party platform, Moore appears to be the only Wisconsin Democrat in line on this vote.
In his letter, the one that Baldwin signed, Welch argues that the debt ceiling vote should not be used for partisan advantage. That appears to be just what Tammy Baldwin has done with her changing position on raising the debt ceiling.