Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tammy Baldwin on raising the debt ceiling: For it before she was against it

On April 18th Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin signed a letter to Democratic leaders in the house requesting a vote on a "clean" bill to raise the debt ceiling.  Clean in this case meaning a bill that didn't include spending cuts as part of a deal to increase the debt ceiling.  The letter was written by Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) and read in part:

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.


Dad29 said...

Shocked! We are SHOCKED, I say!

Dean Weichmann said...

From your link;

"U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, was the only member of the Wisconsin’s House delegation to support lifting the nation’s debt ceiling without any accompanying spending cuts.

The GOP proposal, rejected 318-97 yesterday, was designed to fail, and chief sponsor, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said it was meant to send a message that the nation’s debt must be reined in."

So who was playing games here?
I do think that the Dems should have voted yes anyway but this legislation was introduced with the intent to be voted had no chance of passage.