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Mitch McConnell Is Getting Away With a Dangerous Debt Ceiling Gambit

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There he goes again. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader and the GOP’s nihilist in chief, has a characteristically cynical plan for the debt ceiling. The Senate minority leader has insisted that he and his party will not lift a finger to raise the debt limit as the deadline to do so looms. Democrats and Republicans have joined together for years to forestall this crisis—it’s necessary to prevent the government from going into a catastrophic default.

But no longer, it seems. In recent years, debt ceiling brinksmanship has always incurred a political cost on the party driving the country to the brink. That McConnell has recruited 46 GOP senators into his credit default Suicide Squad suggests something different is afoot: These debt ceiling dealings are best understood as a key plank in the GOP’s midterm strategy, in which McConnell hopes that the GOP can retake congressional majorities and get back to doing what he does best: Nothing.

In the past, one might have expected McConnell—as I did earlier this year—to mask his decision to threaten American with a debt ceiling breach in ideological terms, fearmongering about the size of the deficit and Democratic spending plans as an excuse to not vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling. This would certainly be in keeping with McConnell’s longstanding approach to Washington politics. But these perennial debt ceiling events have always invited lawmakers to be cynical. Raising the debt ceiling may sound like Congress is giving itself permission to spend new money, but in........

© New Republic

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