A national cable television audience was treated to a lively discussion on the debt ceiling debate Monday night as Fifth District Congressman Mick Mulvaney appeared on an MSNBC program hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Mulvaney agreed with Sharpton that partisan politics must be put aside and a compromise must be hammered out that would result in major cuts in the nation’s debt and the raising of the debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline. Mulvaney says the U.S. defaulting on its obligations would be a threat to our financial and national security.
“It’s a national security threat; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said as much last year. He didn’t say it about raising the debt ceiling; he said it about the debt and the deficit,” Mulvaney told Sharpton, “I agree this is a really, really big deal and we should moving on beyond politics. The difficulty is I don’t know who’s going to start doing that.”
Mulvaney says he disagrees with the assessment that he and his fellow freshmen Republicans are a radical faction that is hampering House Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to hammer out a deal with Congressional Democrats and the President.
Sharpton says the GOP attempts to categorize Democrats with runaway government spending when it was President George W. Bush that got the country into a war that has caused massive government spending while instituting tax cuts for the rich that resulted in a decrease in government revenue.
Mulvaney said the contingent of freshmen Republicans are not playing politics with the debt ceiling and have worked to create a bipartisan solution. Mulvaney blamed members of both parties with the nation’s current financial fix. “What we’re hearing out of the White House now, well, we need something to get us pass the next election. You heard ( Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell, a member of the my own party… essentially give control to the President, is designed to do nothing but influence the next election.”
Mulvaney said Tea Party-leaning Republicans were “in the middle.” Sharpton wryly retorted that he was glad to see Mulvaney suddenly put the Tea Party in the middle.
Mulvaney said the nation’s $14 trillion debt is the problem, not the debt ceiling. He disagreed with Sharpton that closing tax loopholes and eliminating tax subsidies would help in garnering much needed revenue.
Mulvaney gave credit to a recent Democratic president, “Go back and look at the last time we balanced the budget. It was under your Democrat Bill Clinton, give credit where credit is due. But he didn’t do it through his tax increases; in fact he reduced some taxes. What he did was dramatically reduce government spending; he reduced the size of the federal government.”
Sharpton countered that Clinton did not cut taxes to the levels that President Bush did that resulted in less revenue. Sharpton said Bush inherited a government that had a surplus and left it with a deficit.