Let Debt Negotiations See Light of Day

Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions called for negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling to be conducted openly:

The ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee says President Obama needs to bring the negotiations over increasing the debt ceiling out into the open.

“We might as well stake it out publicly to see what the disagreements are,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Friday in an interview with The Hill. “I believe Majority Leader [Harry] Reid and the president desperately are working not to have to reveal their vision for the future, financially. Their vision will include, from what glimpses we’ve seen, an advocacy for more taxes and less spending cuts.”

Sessions said Democrats have been avoiding making public the negotiations and laying out precisely what they want in a debt-limit package because “what they’re advocating for, I don’t think would be popular.”

I think that is correct. The Democrats want to raise taxes, and they are hoping to emerge from secret negotiations over the debt limit with Republican consent to a tax increase. The Democrats couldn’t raise taxes when they controlled both the House and the Senate, and everyone knows that no tax increase will pass today’s House. So why would Republicans agree to any tax increases in the context of raising the debt limit? Conducting negotiations in the open would not only expose the Democrats for the would-be tax hikers they are, but would also keep the pressure on Republicans to stick to the principles on which they were elected.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are trying to sell their usual demagogic bill of goods. While it would have virtually no impact on the budget deficit, the Dems are promoting a special tax increase that would be limited to the five largest American oil companies. The increase would take the form of eliminating the manufacturing rate reduction that is received by all manufacturers. It would have the perverse result that the far larger foreign oil companies headquartered in Russia, Brazil, etc. would pay lower taxes on their American operations than the U.S.-based companies do.

As usual, the Democrats have nothing to offer but demagoguery. Let’s let their proposals see the light of day.

UPDATE: On Fox this morning, John Thune spoke powerfully on behalf of resolving issues relating to spending and debt through open debate rather than a last-minute, back room deal:


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