In 2011, Rep. Diane Black voted for the “Budget Control Act of 2011” which automatically increased the debt ceiling by $400 billion to $14.694 trillion and subsequently increased it by another $1.2 trillion via the “McConnell Mechanism.” This provision introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell allowed Obama to request debt increases which could only be blocked by a joint resolution of disapproval passed by Congress. Any resolution, if passed, was still subject to the President’s veto which could only be over-riden by a two-thirds vote by Congress.
Twice the Senate failed to block the debt increases allowed by the “McConnell Mechanism” which reportedly was intended to make Obama responsible for the debt limit increase. Intentionally or not though, it also effectively and unconstitutionally allowed the President to exercise the exclusive power of Congress under Article I, section 8, “to borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
Now as Senate Majority Leader, McConnell is looking to raise the debt ceiling again.
With regard to “Spending Cuts and Debt” Black’s website, which doesn’t seem to have been updated since President Trump was elected, states:
In Congress, I have voted against every blank check to raise the federal debt ceiling. A decision to raise Congress’ borrowing authority without any budgetary reforms or spending cuts guarantees that the government will arrive in the exact same position sooner rather than later. Congress should instead leverage these opportunities to demand real cuts and engage the Obama Administration in an honest conversation about federal spending.
Black’s statement presumably justifies her vote for the 2011 bill because under the bill, total deficit spending was supposed to be reduced in excess of the total debt limit increase passed by Congress including the additional amounts allowed for by Obama.
In 2013, Black voted “no” on the “Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014,” a bill almost completely amended and rewritten by the Senate from its original version titled “No Subsidies Without Verification Act” that Black had introduced. The Senate took Black’s bill and amended it into a bill used to avoid a government shutdown and which temporarily suspended the debt ceiling.
It is widely expected that Black will soon announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018, joining Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville).
How Black votes when the bill to raise the debt ceiling is brought to the floor of the House of Representatives will be closely watched by voters across Tennessee, as well as the four currently announced candidates for the Republican nomination for governor.