Statesmanship needed in debt-limit debate

Yet, today's members of Congress seem more interested in partisanship.


What this country needs now is for the members of Congress to act like statesmen rather than politicians.

Political gamesmanship seems to dominate the work being done in Congress. Every decision made or stand taken by senators and representatives seem to be about getting an edge on their political rivals.

Of course, political gamesmanship is nothing new. It's been going on in legislative bodies long before this country was a country.

However, the level of partisanship in Congress has been escalating over the past few decades as winning elections seems to trump doing what's best for the nation.

The country could be paying the price for all this partisanship as the deadline looms for raising the nation's debt limit. If the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2, the U.S. will run out of borrowing authority. This will likely trigger a panic in the global financial markets causing the tepid U.S. economy and many other countries' economies to plunge into another recession -- or pherps even a depression.

Many Republican lawmakers insist they will raise the debt ceiling only if Congress first passes deep cuts in future federal spending and approves an amendment to the Constitution mandating future federal budgets must balance.

Meanwhile, many Democratic legislators aren't eager to compromise on putting serious spending cuts in place unless they get some equally serious tax hikes.

The Republican and Democratic positions are speeding toward each other like runaway trains.

A bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" has emerged with a plan to cut about $4 trillion from deficits over the next decade. President Obama has embraced this compromise.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he can't endorse the complete $4 trillion package without specifics. That's reasonable. But what is not prudent is his declaration that there's probably not enough time to adopt such an ambitious plan before the Aug. 2 deadline.

The deadline to raise the debt ceiling has not been a secret. The members of Congress have known it was coming and had plenty of time to craft a solid compromise to move the nation forward.

Yet, Republicans and Democrats have waited for this opportunity to play political chicken so they can blame each other for any disaster that results. After all, there is a lot of political power to be gained in next year's election.

Where are the statesmen?


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