Jack Kingston: Use debt ceiling vote to leverage economic reform

As mentioned this morning, U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston of Savannah and Jerry Lewis of California put themselves on a Monday evening conference call organized by Tea Party Patriots – a kind of campaign appearance in the race for chairman of the House Appropriation Committee.

Technical difficulties prevented my listening in, but David Weigel of Slate was more successful. He writes this afternoon that both Kingston and Lewis were asked if they’d support an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

Lewis said no. Kingston said no, but with a large “but.” A small increase in the debt ceiling would be worthwhile – if the price were right.

Said Kingston:

”[W]hat I think the Republican Party should do is say, if we get a spending cap, Gramm-Rudman type law in there; if we can get rid of all the unused stimulus funds, and if we get rid of all the used TARP funds, and if we can get private control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and root out some of these other government problems… in other words, there would be a big price for this, in terms of politically, for the president, to say, look, you’ve got to have this. This is what it’s going to take.

“And you could actually use a modest increase in the debt ceiling to leverage your ability to pass into law lots of long-term stuff that actually would help bring down the debt and the need to ever have to increase it again. The only reason why I say this is that there are some international implications. You see what’s going on right now in Spain and Greece and Ireland. We’re not part of the EU. We don’t want any system like that. But we need to make sure we keep our sovereignty and financial viability.”

Here’s a link to the PowerPoint presentation Kingston gave to his House colleagues on the steering committee today.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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13 comments Add your comment


November 30th, 2010
5:22 pm

The AJC: Ruining some candidates/officials while protecting others.

Dekalb Superior Court candidate Michael Rothenberg is accused of running a PONZI SCHEME. Had this been Beverly Hall or Dekalb Superintendent Crawford Lewis, how would the AJC have covered it?

Why didn’t the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mention the lawsuit against Dekalb Superior Court candidate Michael Rothenberg in the Sunday AJC?

Whenever there was an article about Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall during the week, the AJC always made sure they mentioned it in the Sunday paper. Because they know people miss stories during the middle of the week, and tend to catch up on the news on Sundays. But there was no mention of the allegations against Michael Rothenberg, two days before the run-off election. Hmmm……

It seems that whenever a white/Jewish official or candidate is accused of something, the AJC simply reports it and leaves the story alone. But when a black official/candidate is accused, the AJC reports the story, and then CONTINUES TO COVER IT EVERY DAY. If Michael Rothenberg’s opponent Courtney Johnson (black woman) faced the same allegations, the AJC would have written a second or third article about it, and put it on the front page of the Sunday paper. (See: Beverly Hall).

This is a blatant bias. Two days before the election, the AJC would have tried to DESTROY a black candidate in its Sunday edition. They would have reminded everyone about the allegation, so it would be fresh on their mind before they went to vote.

The AJC has a hands-off policy with any person/thing associated with the city of Dunwoody. Can you imagine if a candidate from Lithonia faced such charges? The AJC would have rehashed the story, and put it on the front page of the Sunday edition, to try and tarnish the candidate. Are you listening Julia Wallace? Who are you fooling with this biased reporting?

Question Man

November 30th, 2010
5:40 pm

Are these guys serious that one way to strengthen the economy and the jobs outlook is for the Republicans to hold the line on the federal debt ceiling and thereby risk putting the U.S. government in default of its obligations? Wouldn’t this strategy make Newt Gingrich’s past initiative to close down the U.S. government look like chump change?


November 30th, 2010
6:23 pm

Question Man…Personally I wish there were no TARP and no stimulus. We were at the edge of a cliff and it looks like the only ones that didn’t go over were the millionaires and billionaires who are now crying about taxes.


November 30th, 2010
6:49 pm

This country can’t afford to raise the debt ceiling further. Private households are reducing their debt – let the government do the same. No more bailouts and handouts. Let’s find out who’s really too big not to fail!

Last Man Standing

November 30th, 2010
7:28 pm


I couldn’t agree with you more! There should never have been ANY bailouts and/or handouts. You are correct in that individuals/households are reducing their debt. The federal government has NOT done that. I just read lately that there would be a “freeze” on federal employees’ raises? That should have happened at least two years ago! How about those “automatic” pay increases for congressmen and senators? They should forego those raises also. Employees in the private sector are not getting raises: why should all these “public servants” be granted raises in these tough economic times?


November 30th, 2010
7:30 pm

Banksters got paid off TARP. Now Republicans want to make sure they get paid from all the tax breaks, deficit be damned. Unemployment insurance to out of work Americans who can’t find one of the few jobs their competing with 6-20 other people for, well theres a deficit that must be taken into account. Total hypocrisy no matter how you spin it.

Budget check

November 30th, 2010
7:32 pm

First, TARP is done and been almost repaid. Second, stimulus is about all spent or obligated. We are talking maybe a couple billion, which won’t make a scratch. Fannie and Freddie really need reform. But, a lot of the housing industry don’t want them fully private like Lehman Bros, AIG, Countrywide, Wachovia, Citi, etc. Summary: there is low hanging fruit, but that would make barely a dent. This is the time to make hard choices and quit trying to say earmarks and pay cuts will balance the budget.

ga female

November 30th, 2010
9:25 pm

The only way to make a dent in the deficit is to get rid of the Bush era tax cuts. Don’t renew them for anyone, let them expire. Dems and Obama need to get some balls. We also need to get out of two wars and stop the Defense spending.

The Federal Pay raise for two years is crap, it is a COLA. If there is inflation the employees should get it, if not they don’t get it. Stop playing politics OBAMA. You will be a one term and go down as the worse President ever. You will join the elite club of Black leaders like our bulgling Marta leader who didn’t know her secretary was miss using her credit card, Beverly Hall her folks were Cheating on the CRT and Bill Campbell, Marion Barry along with the Detroit mayor.

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December 1st, 2010
6:59 am

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The Big Three - Defense- Medicare - Social Security

December 1st, 2010
7:10 am

Bush Tax Cuts , Holding the Debt Ceiling, TARP, and Moving spending limits to earlier year levels are all chump change.

Until we have the guts to reign in Defense, Medicare and Social Security – not much will change.


December 1st, 2010
9:43 am

The reason they need to raise the bebt level is that’s the only way to pay for continuing the Bush tax cuts. It’s kind of funny to me how the GOPpers will agree to extending unemployment insurance IF commensuate cuts are made in the budget, yet they think nothing of borrowing the money they’ll need to cover an extension of the tax cuts. IF the Republicans had had the GUTS to cut expenses to meet the original tax cuts, we wouldn’t be in this friggin’ mess in the first place. But now that Barry O’bama is the Prez instead of ol’ John, they are suddenly all “we must be good stewards of the public’s funds.” Horse feathers! The only thing that I trust either party to do is be absolute hypocrites.

Dirty Dawg

December 1st, 2010
11:29 am

If Jack Kingston becomes head of Appropriations in the House and persists in following ‘Tea Party’ directives, we’re likely doomed. Particularly if Obama continues to act like such a pu$$y in failing to stand up to Republican madness.

Seems to me that Kingston, et. al., that insist on the devastatingly risky move of failing to raise the debt ceiling and the resultant defaults on our obligations – including funding not only the Bush tax-cuts, but the Medicare Part D mess and, of course, those damn wars of his, not to mention my Social Security checks – then I believe they should have something ‘at risk’ other than simply getting re-elected in two years – which ain’t too hard with the mindless electorate around here. I suggest that we adopt either the Japanese and/or Chinese practices of requiring those that take big risks and fail – causing untold damage to the country and her citizens – to either to commit hari-kari, or, in the case of the Chinese, let us do it for them, e.g., hang’em or line ‘em up and shoot ‘em. It’s amazing how much more reasonable asinine politicians can be when they find out that there’s a price to pay for making asinine decisions.

GABlue really

December 1st, 2010
11:40 pm

GOP why don’t we just we just eliminate all taxes on the top 10% and bomb N Korea, Iran and anybody else who rubs us the wrong way. Only GOP debt spending is A OK with my RED state of GA representatives. GOP irresponsibility good ole boy style. http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2007.pdf