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The Republicans Haven't Always Been Against Raising the Debt Ceiling

January 28, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As Eric reported earlier, the Senate this afternoon voted to increase the federal debt ceiling, something that they do fairly routinely. Republicans took the opportunity to protest what they see as Obama and the Democrats’ excessive spending by voting in lock step against the increase, regardless of the fact that most of the recent deficit has been caused by an enormous drop of tax revenue for the government caused by the economic crisis.

The Republicans haven’t always been against increasing the federal debt ceiling. This is the first time in recent history (the past decade or so) that no Republican has voted for the increase. In fact, on most of the ten other votes to increase the federal debt limit that the Senate has taken since 1997, the Republicans provided the majority of the votes in favor.

Here’s a chart I’ve put together using data from the Office of Management and Budget (caution, .xls file) this table showing all of the debt increase votes going back to 1997, what level they raised the limit to, and how many Republicans in the Senate voted for it.

Bill Containing Debt Ceiling Increase New Debt Ceiling Level Enacted Number of Republicans in Senate Voting “Yes”
111-H.J.Res.45 – Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt (the current bill) $14,294,000,000,000 0
111-H.R.4314 – To permit continued financing of Government operations (2009) $12,394,000,000,000 1
111-H.R.1 – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) $12,104,000,000,000 2
110-H.R.1424 – Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (2008) $11,315,000,000,000 33
110-H.R.3221 – Housing and Recovery Act (2008) $10,615,000,000,000 34
110-H.J.Res.43 – Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt (2007) $9,815,000,000,000 26
109-H.J.Res.47 – Debt limit increase resolution (2006) $8,965,000,000,000 51
108-S.2986 – A bill to Amend Title 31 of U.S. Code to increase the public debt limit (2004) $8,184,000,000,000 50
108-H.J.Res.51 – Debt limit increase resolution (2003) $7,384,000,000,000 50
107-S.2578 – Debt limit bill (2002) $6,400,000,000,000 31
105-H.R.2015 – Balanced Budget Act of 1997 $5,950,000,000,000 Passed by unanimous consent; 55 Republicans vote in favor

As you can see, today’s increase was a big one. In fact, it was the biggest debt limit increase in history. But it’s no bigger than what you’d get if you put combined some of the increases that the Republicans provided the majority of the votes for during the Bush years.

Worth noting, of course, is the sudden drop off in Republican support for raising the debt ceiling as soon as Obama took office. A little number crunching shows that under Bush the Republicans provided, on average, 39 of the 50 votes that were generally needed to raise the debt ceiling. But under Obama, the Republicans have provided only 1 vote on average each of the three times the Senate has voted on it.

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sashoknyc 03/12/2013 5:57pm

Thanks for the article; I think ALL parties should be concerned regarding the debt ceiling as well.
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sashoknyc 03/12/2013 5:55pm

Thanks for the article; I think ALL parties should be concerned regarding the debt ceiling as well.
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lynntran46j 01/21/2012 11:36am
in reply to suzieqs Jan 28, 2010 10:15pm

We have to learn how to balance our budget. It is ridiculous to spend more money than you make. Thank you for the post.
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jolenealbert63e 01/09/2012 2:00pm

All parties should be concerned about the debt ceiling. We need to search for ways to balance our budget. Thank you for the post.

jazimar 11/12/2011 10:18am

We should not be allowed to increase our debt. Our experts should figure out a way to manage our debt and get out of debt. Thank you for the post. Quickbooks Hosting Service

curtisbelow 07/14/2011 3:02am

Also, in the 86 times the debt ceiling has been raised since 1950, 57 of those time occurred when a Republican was president. (29 times when a Democrat was president.)

Raising the Debt Ceiling

suzieqs 01/28/2010 10:15pm

Just like always, say one thing and do another. Politicians on both sides always talk out of both sides of their mouths. There isn’t an honest bone in any of them.

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