Booker Rips GOP’s ‘Kabuki Theater’ On Debt Ceiling

UNITED STATES - JUNE 10: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021 and other business in Hart Building on Thursday, J... UNITED STATES - JUNE 10: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021 and other business in Hart Building on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 26, 2021 5:00 p.m.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday swiped at Republicans’ brinksmanship on the debt ceiling soon after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) declared that he is joining his Republican colleagues in refusing to help Democrats suspend the debt ceiling.

Booker started his interview on CNN by taking aim at Republicans over their refusal to help Democrats raise the debt ceiling, despite their history of voting to do so throughout the Trump administration alongside their Democratic colleagues. A bill temporarily suspending the debt ceiling and keeping the government funded is set to come to the Senate floor on Monday, but Republican senators have made clear that it is dead on arrival in the upper chamber.

“I’m sitting here kind of stunned … I just want to make the point — Donald Trump ran up profligate spending, $8 trillion worth of debt,” Booker said.

Booker then called out Republicans for acting as though they didn’t add to the debt with Trump’s tax cuts.

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“So for people who ran up that, who voted for it, suddenly to say, I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling on debt that we voted for we supported, is, to me — Jake, it’s the Kabuki theater I think that frustrates a lot of folks,” Booker said.

Booker then brought up Republicans’ history of voting in a bipartisan fashion to raise the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration, citing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) and Toomey’s previous support of it.

“The thing about Washington that frustrates many people is, under Donald Trump, there were certain rules. But now they don’t want to do the same thing here,” Booker said. “It is bad for the economy. It is bad during this time we are struggling with a pandemic. These are the kinds of things that should be pro forma.”

Booker’s criticism of the GOP’s brinksmanship on the debt ceiling was made shortly after Toomey voiced his opposition to Democrats’ two-track plan of linking a government funding bill with the suspension of the debt ceiling through Dec. 2022 during an appearance on CNN.

“So I will certainly be voting no if the Democrats insist on combining the debt ceiling increase or suspension with the continuing operations of the government,” Toomey said.

Much like what his Republican colleagues have already expressed, Toomey said that he expects Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to use the reconciliation bill to raise the debt ceiling as Republicans insist that Democrats go about doing so on their own.

“They are in the midst of an absolutely unprecedented, very damaging spending spree on a scale that we have never seen, and they want us to come along and authorize the borrowing to help pay for it when we are totally opposed to what they’re doing,” Toomey said.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doubled down on her criticism of Republicans’ standoff on the debt ceiling during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” Pelosi said that Republicans’ refusal to help raise the debt ceiling is “irresponsible beyond words.”

“The full faith and credit of the United States should not be questioned,” Pelosi said. “That’s in the Constitution of the United States, the 14th Amendment. Go look at that. It’s in the Constitution of the United States.”

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