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Ellison’s Progressive Caucus invoke Reagan in debt debate

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s Congressional Progressive Caucus has claimed an unusual ally in the current debate over raising the debt limit — Republican President Ronald Reagan.

“President Reagan was a staunch conservative whose views sharply differ from Progressives’ in nearly every respect,” the Progressive Caucus, which Ellison co-chairs, wrote in a letter to members of Congress. “Yet Reagan understood that the American people have invested their trust in our ability to be wise stewards.”

Attached is a letter Reagan wrote to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, a Republican, in 1983: “The risks, the costs, the disruptions and the incalculable damage leads me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation [a debt limit increase] before Congress adjourns.”

Democrats have recently invoked Reagan’s words to try and convince conservatives to support a debt limit increase. Last weekend, they released a recording of a 1987 radio address in which Reagan also appeals for a debt limit increase.

“Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility,” he said. “The United States has a special responsibility to meet its obligations.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 07/23/2011 - 11:59 am.

    Every time I hear about Representative Keith Ellison, I discover a new reason to admire him. Thank you for reporting this, Devin Henry.

    There are few truer defenders of the Constitution than Ellison. The “special responsibility” of the federal government of the United States “to meet its obligations” that Ellison invokes is also required by the Constitution, and this cannot be stressed enough.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/23/2011 - 08:21 pm.

    Ellison’s an idiot. If he wants to claim Reagan as an ally in raising the debt limit, then the republicans could claim a similar ally in voting against it — Barrack Obama.

    Back in 2006, he joined with other Senate Democrats to vote against raising the debt limit, a measure supported by President George W. Bush.

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills,” Obama said.

    “Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next five years,” he said, adding,”Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.

    Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”


  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/25/2011 - 04:01 pm.

    The debt limit has been raised countless times, but this is the first time one party, the Republican Right, has used it as a sledgehammer in an effort to force cuts to the social safety net and other important government spending. To this end, the deficit suddenly had to become the most important issue America faces — not war, not unemployment, not the transfer of the country’s wealth to a wealthy few and to corporations.

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