Write Joe and tell him “NO compromise with economic terrorists!”
On May 9, Biden met with House Majority McCarthy on the debt limit. After listening to the GOP’s plans to freeze all spending for freezing spending for 2-10 years, which takes no account of issues like a aging population and rapidlyincreasing extreme weather events, “…President Biden left the door open to circumventing Congress to prevent Republicans from crashing the economy.”
Action: Email Joe and tell him play hardball with McCarthy.
It’s easy! Just click on https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and you’ve got 2000 characters to tell him what you think. Here’s our take, a general-purpose letter liberally stolen from Robert Reich’s column.
However, sharing with him a personal story – how you, your friends, family or coworkers would be harmed by the GOP’s extortionate funding cuts in exchange for doing their damn job – is just as good or better for stiffening his spine. (We’ve copied the Whitehouse letter below for an easy reference to what the GOP is up to.)
PLEASE DON’T NEGOTIATE with McCarthy and the Republican radicals on the debt limit! They threaten to destroy America’s economy if you don’t compromise, and they are guaranteed to harm untold millions of us if you do. A better example of economic terrorism would be hard to find. In fact, they may “want a crisis, preferring to watch the world burn under a Democratic administration.”
Mr. President, your oath to uphold the Constitution takes precedence. As the supreme law of the land, the Constitution has greater weight than the debt ceiling.
Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.””
A debt ceiling that prevents the federal government from honoring its existing financial commitments violates the Constitution.
If House Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. Constitution and your oath of office obligates you to ignore the debt ceiling and continue to pay the debts of the United States.
Let them take you to court. Even the Republican radicals on the Supreme Court will have to support you. No “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution could read that document differently.
The Constitution makes it clear that Congress’s power to power to tax and borrow to pay debts does not include the power to default on such borrowing. The “Second Founders” who amended the Constitution after the Civil War explicitly forbade Congress, or anyone, from repudiating or defaulting on the debt.
Don’t play their cynical game, Joe. Play hardball instead. Ignore these economic terrorists and hang the trauma they were willing to inflict on Americans around their necks!
Here’s another example.
Unlike any other first world country, we’ve had more mass shootings than days passed this year. We’ve watched a young man shot for ringing a doorbell, a woman killed for turning around in a driveway. Two men in a road-rage incident accidently shooting each other’s children. This weekend, a little girl lost her life and her parents’ won’t even be able to see her face to say goodbye.
None of this horror is an accident.
The GOP, the NRA and right-wing media, using Scalia’s insane interpretation of the 2nd amendment, manipulate fear and division for their own profit and power.
They’ve also weaponized the 1st amendment to support those who help them promote fear and division, those who ban speech, those who ban books and courses and those who terrorize librarians and teachers.
And now, to distract from the huge economic boon they’ve provided for their real constituency – the wealthy and powerful – the GOP is using the most vulnerable amongst us as hostages for their extortionate demands to do their jobs and raise the debt limit.
Any compromise WILL harm children, veterans, the elderly, and those who depend on Social Security and our other safety net programs. Just the prospect of facing hunger, of losing health care or an old age of profound poverty, is already causing emotional trauma.
I know your advisors are saying that using another amendment, the 14th, to stop this cruelty, is a bridge too far. They are probably advising you to just choose the least photogenic sacrifices to appease the GOP and let them save face, and then get on with business.
But we need you to be the historic president you promised to be – to wield the 14th amendment as unapologetically as any sword and shield to protect us. Let it be your legacy that you stopped the GOP’s ugly tradition of economic terrorism forevermore.
Here is what the Whitehouse sees in the GOP “plan.”
Congressional Republicans’ Legislation: 22% Cuts That Would Harm American Families, Seniors and Veterans
By Shalanda Young, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Yesterday, Speaker McCarthy and Congressional Republicans doubled down on threatening default in order to extract a wish list of extreme, unrelated policies that will hurt hard-working families. The legislation Congressional Republicans have drafted is designed to avoid leveling with the American people about how these cuts would impact their lives. So I want to be very clear about exactly what this plan would mean for families and communities across the country.
The legislation Congressional Republicans introduced sets overall appropriations for Fiscal Year 2024 at the same level as FY 2022. At this level, all appropriated funding—including both defense and domestic programs—would be cut deeply. However, Congressional Republicans have indicated that they are not willing to cut defense funding at all, which means that everything else in annual appropriations—from cancer research, to education, to veterans’ health care—would be cut by much more.
The math is simple, but unforgiving. At their proposed topline funding level—and with defense funding left untouched as Republicans have proposed—everything else is forced to suffer enormous cuts. In fact, their bill would force a cut of 22 percent—cuts that would grow deeper and deeper with each year of their plan.
What would that mean for the American people just in the first year of their plan? Consider just a few examples:
- Undermine Medical Care for Veterans: Cutting funding by 22 percent would mean 30 million fewer veteran outpatient visits, and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration—leaving veterans unable to get appointments for care including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment.
- Slash Funding for Schools with Low-Income Students and Students with Disabilities: A 22 percent cut would impact 25 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities, which could force a reduction of up to 108,000 teachers, aides or other key staff.
- Eliminate Preschool and Child Care for Hundreds of Thousands of Children: A 22 percent cut would mean 200,000 children lose access to Head Start slots and another 180,000 children lose access to child care—undermining our children’s education and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce and contribute to our economy.
- Strip Nutrition Assistance from Millions of Women, Infants, and Children: A 22 percent cut would mean 1.7 million women, infants, and children would lose vital nutrition assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), significantly increasing child poverty and hunger.
- Rob Seniors of Healthy Meals: A 22 percent cut would take away nutrition services, such as Meals on Wheels, from more than 1 million seniors. For many of these seniors, these programs provide the only healthy meal they receive on any given day.
- Raise Housing Costs for Hundreds of Thousands: A 22 percent cut would eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for over 630,000 households, including 190,000 households headed by seniors and 50,000 veterans.
- Scale Back Rail Safety Inspections: A 22 percent cut would result in 7,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, and 30,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States nearly 10 times.
These are just a few examples—the list goes on and on. A 22 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health would delay cancer and Alzheimer’s research. A 22 percent cut to the Army Corps of Engineers would affect key water resources projects all over the country. A 22 percent cut to the Department of Homeland Security would undermine border management and drug interdiction. And under their bill, these cuts would get even deeper over time. There is no escaping the pain to working families and our economic future: if they seek to protect any area from cuts, it only means more harmful cuts to all of the other painful impacts listed above.
Beyond these impacts, this bill would also hold our economy hostage to even more cuts that would undermine our recovery and harm hard-working families, seniors, and students. It would repeal tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act that are leading to hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector investment in the United States and thousands of jobs. It would put food assistance at risk for many older Americans, cut Medicaid by introducing bureaucratic work reporting requirements that state experiences show would cause millions of people to lose coverage—including working people and people with disabilities—without increasing employment, and deepen hardship for some of the nation’s most vulnerable children. It would eliminate President Biden’s student debt relief plan, taking away breathing room for 26 million Americanswho have already applied or are automatically eligible. And it would increase energy bills for families, while also increasing pollution.
This bill is vague by design—but that doesn’t obscure the fact that it will force devastating cuts that will hurt millions of people, damage our economy, and undermine our national security. That approach stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which invests in the American people, grows the economy from the middle out and bottom up, and reduces the deficit by nearly $3 trillion by asking the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.
 The legislation proposed by Congressional Republicans would set the FY2024 topline at $1.471 trillion, equal to the FY 2022 level. Under the assumption that funding for defense in FY 2024 will at least match the baseline level of $885 billion, non-defense funding would total $586 billion, which is 22 percent lower than the currently enacted level of $756 billion.