Bill Pascoe of Tea Party Patriots PAC: Republicans Aim to Force Fiscal Discipline by Using the Calendar to Their Advantage

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Bill Pascoe of Tea Party Patriots PAC to the newsmaker line to breakdown the bill proposed to increase the debt ceiling if spending is cut.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by our very good friend, Bill Pascoe, with the Tea Party Patriots PAC. In studio, all-star panelist, Crom Carmichael. Bill, there’s a big debate going on in Washington. The House of Representatives wants to work on legislation that I guess would only increase the debt ceiling limit if cuts in spending took place. Tell us what’s going on right now, Bill.

Pascoe: We’ve got a $4.5 trillion in savings, is what the Republican bill proposes. It is a 320-page bill that spends money over the next 10 years. They want to save four and $4.5 trillion. In exchange for that, they’re willing to increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion. So you got a three-to-one ratio.

The other interesting feature is that it would only raise the debt limit until March 31st, 2024, or $1.5 trillion, whichever comes first. Now, the interesting thing about this feature is it means that either way, the latest that the debt ceiling would be raised would be March 31, and that means that President Biden would have to come back to Congress and ask again for another increase in the debt ceiling.

At the end of next March, which is just as the presidential race is going to be kicking into gear. So the Republicans are trying to force some fiscal discipline simply by using the calendar to their advantage. They know that President Biden wouldn’t want to be having a discussion about having to raise the debt ceiling yet again, just as he’s really gearing up for the fall election contest.

Now, in addition to that, the bill would hold the spending growth over the next 10 years to just one percent a year. Given that we’ve got inflation right now, running somewhere in the six percent or so range on a year-by-year basis, we have at as highest 9 percent within the last 12 months.

If you’re almost going to grow the government by one percent, that’s actually when you factor in inflation, a cut in spending. Even if they get inflation back under control, holding spending rates in Washington to one percent a year is something we haven’t seen literally since Eisenhower.

Leahy: A cut in real terms.

Carmichael: Bill, there are more than a dozen Republicans who have vowed to never vote to increase the debt ceiling. Do you think that enough of those Republicans will get on board so the Republicans do have the majority on this question of increasing the debt ceiling coupled with a significant decrease in spending?

Pascoe: This is a great question, and this is what all of Washington wants to know the answer to because they know that there’s going to be no Democrats who vote for this. Republican leadership, McCarthy, and his allies want to bring this bill to the floor next week, maybe as early as Wednesday, if they think they can pass it.

So everybody is doing the Whip count this weekend. They’re looking at it. There are a couple of people, you’re right who have said in various guises either on the campaign trail last year or since they’ve come to Washington, they’ve said, I’m never gonna vote for a debt ceiling increase.

It’s just not gonna happen. George Santos, the new guy from New York, for instance, who reporters approached yesterday, said oh, I’m a hard no, I’m a hard no. And then later in the day, literally, he said maybe I’m not such a hard, no.

Leahy: George Santos, the fabulous, who’s keeping his seat in the House of Representatives, only because of the good graces of Speaker McCarthy, who doesn’t wanna have a special election in that district.

Pascoe: The challenge is Mr. Santos. He was a hard no. Now he says maybe he’s persuadable. And this is key. Let’s keep in mind this bill is not going anywhere in the Senate, and even if it were to pass the Senate, President Biden has made it clear that he would veto the bill.

This bill is important to pass for one simple reason, if it doesn’t pass, then McCarthy has absolutely no leverage when he sits at the table to negotiate with Biden if this bill passes. If this bill passes, on the other hand, it shows Biden and Schumer and the Senate Democrats that McCarthy controls the House floor and nothing passes the House without his say-so. And that gives him leverage and gives him chips at the table to have a negotiation. And that’s what this was really all about.

Leahy: The president, however, has indicated he has no interest whatsoever in talking with Speaker McCarthy about anything related to the budget he’s playing the typical defiant Joe Biden hardball. Where does this go in your view?

Pascoe: You’re absolutely right. Biden is counting on this. He’s counting on the fact that the media will always side with the Democrats when it comes to a debt ceiling fight. Just the same way, the media will always side with the Democrats when it comes to any kind of government spending or budget fight.

He’s counting on the media to be backing up the Democrats and his message. He’s counting on Senate Democrats to hold. Because they want what they call a clean debt ceiling increase, that is why they want to raise the debt ceiling.

Carmichael: Bill, let me interrupt you. Is he also counting on enough Republicans refusing to vote for the bill so that the bill doesn’t pass in the House?

Pascoe: I don’t know if he’s counting on that. I think he’s waiting to see what happens there. I think he’s counting, and I’m not sure if he ought to be counting on this based on what I’ve seen in the first 24 hours of this bill’s life. In the Senate, typically, he’s got this group of 10 to 18 Senate Republicans, the usual suspects, the Lisa Murkowskis and the Susan Collins, and the Mitt Romneys of the world who can almost always be counted on to cave at last and to cut a deal with the Democrats.

I think he’s counting on that based on what I’ve seen in the first 24 hours since this bill was released. Though I’m not sure, that’s a wise bet. They all seem to be lining up behind McCarthy saying, no, this is a good idea. We think it’s important that we raise the debt ceiling in conjunction with spending cuts; we can’t simply continue to sustain this level of spending. It’s out of control. That was a very interesting wrinkle.

Carmichael: So the key really is if the House passes the bill that we’re discussing now with the characteristics that we’re talking about, an increase of $1.5 trillion and cuts of $4.5 trillion in spending if the House passes that, then the negotiations at that point are forced to begin. If there are enough Republicans who side with the Democrats and refuse to vote for the bill, then McCarthy is in an incredibly weak position, and Biden gets his way. Is that fair to say?

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Arun Kumar.


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