Opinion

Schumer bill seeks to cut Congress, give president sole power over debt limit

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he intends to propose legislation that will transfer the power to raise the debt ceiling from Congress and give it to the president by permanently implementing the so-called “McConnell rule.”

During his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the issue of the recent government shutdown and Congress’s tendency to work from crisis-to-crisis came up, to which the New York Democrat had what he thought was the perfect solution, according to The Hill.

“One way to avoid this from happening again is for us to implement the McConnell rule, which says that Congress must disapprove rather than approve increases in the debt ceiling,” Schumer said Sunday. “If we were to do that, the chances of going up to the brink again, the chances of this kind of debacle would decrease. I’m going to introduce legislation to do just that, and it would really help.”

What Schumer proposes is to give the president the power to unilaterally increase the debt limit. It would then take a two-thirds majority of Congress to override the president’s increases, just as it would to override a presidential veto.

The possibility of two-thirds of Congress agreeing on anything is just this side of nil, which would give thew White House pretty much unbridled power to raise the debt ceiling at will.

The Hill reported:

The scheme was the brainchild of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and was first used to raise the debt ceiling in 2011, the last time the issue became a point of contention in Congress.

Schumer on Sunday said that his bill would be in the same spirit of the rule and “says that Congress must disapprove rather than approve increases in the debt ceiling.”

However, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., appeared on the same program and said not so fast.

“The first thing you do when you’re addicted to something is to present the reality to yourself that you’re addicted,” he said.

“The real problems are we continue to spend money on things we don’t need.”

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