Editorial: Congress takes a break while debt default looms

Note to Congress: get back to work.

Though they’ve yet to reach a deal on the debt ceiling, House lawmakers are leaving Washington for the long Memorial Day weekend.

Sorry, but this isn’t the time to kick back and watch a parade.

The deadline to avoid a debt default is a week away, and as The Hill reported, negotiators say they’re getting closer to making a deal.

Close is not good enough – certainly not good enough to warrant a break.

“Still working through thorny issues, but there’s goodwill on all sides,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a key ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and negotiator in spending talks with the White House, told The Hill on Thursday.

“It’s just tougher issues that remain,” he added.

All the more reason to work through the weekend. Because resolving those  “tougher issues that remain” are what’s keeping Americans anxious, wondering if their Social Security check, military paycheck, veterans benefits and/or funding for Medicare and Medicaid will come through.

To say nothing of how the markets would react to a default, imperiling 401(k) accounts across the board.

If anyone needed a prime example of lawmakers out of touch with their constituents, this is it.

Democrats have criticized House GOP leaders for giving the thumb’s up to the scheduled recess with the fiscal deadline looming.

“It’s just the weirdest thing to be going home in the middle of an impending disaster,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) told The Hill.

Neither side of the aisle comes out smelling of roses – we wouldn’t be in this mess if Democrats hadn’t gone on a spending spree under Joe Biden’s watch.

House GOP leaders said Wednesday that members should be prepared to return to the Capitol to vote on legislation to raise the debt limit with 24 hours notice. A better idea – stay in town, keep working, make a deal.

Of course, the longer this debacle is drawn out, the more Democrats get to sling mud on Republicans for daring to link budget cuts with raising the debt ceiling. “The sky’s the limit” is a poor fiscal plan.

Heading into the recess, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) accused Republicans of threatening to tank the economy because they think it might hurt Biden and the Democrats politically.

Democrats “are unified in working to avoid a dangerous default, which is what extreme MAGA Republicans are clearly determined to bring about,” Jeffries said, “because they have concluded that if they crash the economy, it will benefit them politically.”

Another odious result of this ill-timed recess: pols get to return to their home states and bloviate about how they are thisclose to a deal, if only those other guys would get on board.

The American people don’t need this – not the debit crisis, not the polarized factions on the Hill, and definitely not the unending blame game played for political clout.

We can only hope that a vacationing DC pol runs into a veteran during Memorial Day festivities and is asked the question: “what’s going to happen to my benefits check in a week?”


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