Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — President Obama signed into law Tuesday the controversial bill raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
It didn’t come without a bruising political fight, and a few exaggerations. President Obama and our own Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had a war of words, for example, as Bachmann claimed the debt ceiling is giving Obama “a blank check.”
Bachmann had strong words for the debt ceiling deal, speaking from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday. Bachmann voted against the debt ceiling.
“Throughout this debate on insane, never-before-seen-in-the-history-of-this-country-levels-of-spending, President Obama has coolly stood on the sidelines, his arms crossed, very simply castigating Republicans for not giving him a $2.7 trillion blank check,” said Bachmann.
That’s false. Not only is it not a blank check, it’s about paying for the past and not the future. The vote to raise the debt limit is a vote to pay for programs Congress already approved.
According to numerous independent sources, the U.S. debt is not just for Obama’s programs but for George Bush’s, too, dating back to 2001. To get it, Obama had to agree to trillions of dollars of spending cuts.
President Obama, meanwhile, has repeatedly complained that raising the debt ceiling is routine. It’s been done 74 times for other presidents.
He’s right about the number of times, but it’s not true that this is routine. In fact, this $2.4 trillion is the largest hike in the debt ceiling ever and it’s not even close.
Adjusted for inflation, the second-highest debt ceiling was in the President George H. W. Bush era, $1.6 trillion. And after that, the debt ceiling was raised $1.4 trillion for President Jimmy Carter.