Today on The BradCast: The so-called investigations of the Biden Administration by GOP-led Congressional committees are virtually guaranteed to crash and burn for Republicans in the months ahead. But whether they crash and burn the national and global economies in the meantime remains a very real question. It's one about which our guest today has a few very interesting suggestions for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
First up, however, we pick up a bit on yesterday's coverage helping to gird you for the circus of insanity now barreling toward all of us with the GOP's takeover of the U.S. House. Yesterday, we detailed NBC's Chuck Todd (of all people!) calling out the lies of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan --- the new Chair of both the House Judiciary Committee and the GOP's newly formed Select Subcommittee on "The Weaponization of the Federal Government" --- regarding Jordan's false equivalency between the handful of classified documents discovered and promptly returned by President Biden's aides, and Donald Trump's more than a year-and-a-half long effort to retain hundreds of classified documents he stole from the White House and refused to return.
In a similar vein today, the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, made a yutz of himself on CNN over the weekend, trying to explain why President Joe Biden and his family must be investigated for "influence peddling," despite the lack of evidence to support the charge. That while, he insisted, there is absolutely nothing to look into regarding the mountain of actual known evidence suggesting influence peddling by Donald Trump and his family.
For good measure, we also help Marjorie Taylor Greene embarrass herself today by simply playing some of her very serious questions to the U.S. Comptroller --- about Drag Queen Story Hour and an elementary school she claimed received $5.1 billion in "COVID Cash" to teach Critical Race Theory --- at a House hearing today.
As to real damage that Republicans are capable of causing, the Treasury Department is currently taking "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our national debt for the first time in U.S. history as House Republicans figure out how to best hold the nation's (and world's) economy hostage to demands of cuts to federal spending before they are willing to raise the statutory debt limit. Unless they do so very soon, giving authority to the U.S. Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago authorized and/or purchased, the global economy could come crashing down on everyone. The White House refuses to negotiate on whether our bills must be paid. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on behalf of his far-right caucus, is holding out for...something...though he has yet to make clear precisely what they want.
We're joined today by KEVIN DRUM, longtime blogger formerly of Washington Monthly and Mother Jones, now back on the indie blogging beat at his site, Jabberwocking, for insight on this dangerous mess.
In addition to thoughts on how he sees all of this ultimately shaking out; whether Republicans will really pull the trigger on the hostage this time; how it played out the last time they tried the same gambit when they had control of Congress while a Democrat occupied the White House in 2011; and the history of why the U.S. stands nearly alone among developed democracies in even having such a dumb statutory limit on paying our bills, Drum recently wrote about a couple of ways that Dems may consider moving forward without a vote from Republicans at all.
One idea long discussed by many on the Internet is that the President has the authority to simply order the minting of a $1 trillion platinum coin. Drum explains that well-worn --- if never invoked --- theory, what makes it lawful, and if it would actually work to allow our bills to continue to be paid without Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling.
Another idea he prefers, however, involves calling the GOP's bluff by citing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which plainly states "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" and telling Republicans to "pound sand." Just continue writing checks as usual and let Republicans go to court to get a ruling that the U.S. Government must immediately stop sending Social Security checks to grandma, stop issuing food stamps to hungry families, stop paying for medical care for the poor and elderly, stop all military spending, and stop all interest payments on U.S. treasury bonds, etc.
"If this goes to court for one reason or another, that's actually pretty useful," Drum argues. "It makes Republicans really take a stand. It makes it clear that Republicans are the ones who are trying to cut off food stamps or Social Security or whatever it is."
But, while Drum explains why he believes it's a "low-risk" option, it could still be a dangerous one nonetheless. A favorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in days of yore might have been a no-brainer. But, with an entirely corrupted, far-right extremist super-majority now at SCOTUS, it's anyone's guess as to whether they would vote to uphold the clear text of the Constitution or not.
There's a lot to discuss with Drum today! I hope you'll tune in!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)