Freedom Caucus Stark Warning: Harvey Relief Can’t Be Trojan Horse For Debt-Ceiling

So on Tuesday, Goldman suggested there’s a silver lining to Hurricane Harvey.

Previously, the bank had pegged the odds of a government shutdown at roughly 50%. But thanks to one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history, the odds might have fallen simply because no one will want to risk being the guy/gal that gets blamed for crippling the government’s capacity to provide aid in the aftermath of a horrific natural disaster.

“At this point, we peg the probability of a shutdown in early October at 35%, down from our prior view of 50% over the last couple of weeks [with] the main issue [being] Hurricane Harvey,” Goldman wrote, in a note out Tuesday evening. The bank continued: “Allowing a partial government shutdown when federal relief efforts are underway would pose greater political risks than under normal circumstances, raising the probability that lawmakers will find a way to resolve disagreements.”

They made a similar point about the debt ceiling. Basically, if Congress combines the emergency funds with the federal spending authority or the debt ceiling, no one is going to want to see their picture plastered all over the front page of every newspaper in the country with the headline “This Is The Dick That Voted Against Disaster Relief.”

Well, fast forward 48 hours and it looks like Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is going to try and avoid being “the dick” later by being a dick now. Here’s WaPo:

The leader of an influential group of House conservatives warned GOP leaders Thursday not to attach aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey to an increase in the federal debt limit, a stance that could constrain Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) as he tries to win support over the coming weeks for several controversial must-pass measures.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said attaching Harvey aid to a debt-ceiling increase would be a “terrible idea” that would be “conflating two very different issues.”

“The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate,” he said in an interview. “That sends all the wrong message: ‘Let’s go ahead and increase the debt ceiling, and by the way, while we’re doing it let’s go ahead and spend another $15, $20 billion dollars?’ That’s not to undercut the importance of Harvey relief. We’re going to fund Harvey relief without a doubt, but I think it just sends the wrong message when you start attaching it to the debt ceiling.”

So basically, Meadows wants to make sure he gets to make a debt ceiling increase contingent on attaching his own agenda and by God no hurricane is going to stop him.

His defense: “Having some guardrails for fiscal responsibility is certainly important and to just ignore it would not be prudent.”

Duly noted, but if the U.S. ends up defaulting, those aren’t the only “guardrails” we’re going to need.

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2 thoughts on “Freedom Caucus Stark Warning: Harvey Relief Can’t Be Trojan Horse For Debt-Ceiling

  1. Meadows is an asswipe. He’s a devout Christian that gives real devout Christians a bad name since he has no heart. We humans each have a “nature.” Good natured and kind hearted people are easily identified. Those with a stingy or miserly nature or a constricted heart are also easily identified. Politicians govern according to their nature. By their nature, today’s Republicans and conservatives govern with the attitude that Americans should fend for themselves, that government should not lend a helping hand and that the social contract should be privatized, and they do so because by their nature they are cheap, stingy and selfish people. They are people who think that they made it on their own (even if by inheritance) and so others should do the same. They ask the question: why should I help them just because they are poor, sick or fell upon bad times as a result of the great recession? “Let them make their own way.” Too often, what underlies their so-called policies is disdain for the “others” race, color, alienage, immigration status, religion or sexual orientation. The so-called “Freedom Caucus,” is improperly named. They should be called the “Scrooge Caucus.”

  2. Attaching non-emergency “pork” to flood relief funding is completely in line with similar acts such as holding Trump campaign rallies at the flood sites and during the emergency. The Freedom Caucus should recognize the Party that brought them to the dance. The Republican Party has always been, but has become an opportunist of the worst kind under the Trump Administration. Both Parties have often served “pork” with “blood” and it is one of the most amoral and counter-economic features of our governing process. If any idea is worth considering and funding, it should be done on its on merit alone and not contaminated with unrelated less appealing items.

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