Following Thursday night’s news that the Senate had successfully extended the debt ceiling through December — and thus averted, at least for now, an unnecessary economic cataclysm — Politico continued to peddle a completely nonfactual narrative blaming both parties for a standoff that is entirely the product of Republican obstruction.
To be clear, the recent standoffs are happening only because Republicans have taken the extraordinary measure of filibustering the increases, rather than just voting against them under a majority-vote threshold — an approach Democrats have not taken in the past. In addition, the modern history of debt ceiling standoffs began when House Republicans under Newt Gingrich scrapped the “Gephardt Rule,” which had automatically raised the ceiling for whatever spending Congress had authorized.
But that is not how Politico is telling it, as Josh Marshall highlighted.
“So why not just get rid of the debt ceiling altogether?” wrote Renuka Rayasam, in the Politico Nightly newsletter. “The answer has less to do with an effort to control government spending and more to do with the desire of both parties to preserve a powerful tool that can force concessions on big bills, POLITICO’s budget and appropriations reporter Caitlin Emma told Nightly today.”
In the actual video segment, Emma said: “So, you know, once again, we’re in this position where Congress is basically using it as a weapon, and both sides are, you know, fighting over what they want, and you know, basically, it’s a mess. It’s always a mess.”
(Full transcript available here.)
Politico has also depicted the debt ceiling fight as a “back-and-forth” between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Biden administration, claiming that Democrats and Republican leaders were “not even trying to negotiate” — despite the fact that McConnell was the one who bluntly wrote, “We have no list of demands,” and said Democrats would have to raise the ceiling themselves.
Other mainstream media outlets have also enabled McConnell and Senate Republicans’ dangerous tactics, by depicting them as a “political game” and a “game of chicken the two parties are playing” and superfluously blaming “both parties” even when the people saying these things clearly know the wider facts.