You might think the GOP hates the poor and the elderly and, really, all of those that rely on entitlement payments of one sort or another. But I'll bet you didn't know how much they hate them.
They hate them enough to introduce a bill that prioritizes paying off our debt to China over their monthly checks.
That's right. Congressman Tom McClintock of California has introduced H.R. 421 – "To require that the Government prioritize all obligations on the debt held by the public in the event that the debt limit is reached." This bill would prioritize payments to China and our other creditors over our own citizens should Congress not raise the debt ceiling.
According to Talking Points Memo, Pat Toomey will do the same in the Senate.
"I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed.
If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling.
UPDATE: Here's the text of Toomey's Senate bill (S.B. 163 – "The Full Faith and Credit Act", [aka, "The Pay China First Act"]):
In the event that the debt of the United States Government, as defined in section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, reaches the statutory limit, the authority of the Department of the Treasury provided in section 3123 of title 31, United States Code, to pay with legal tender the principal and interest on debt held by the public shall take priority over all other obligations incurred by the Government of the United States.
(H/T to hope4usa who emailed me the Senate bill [all two pages of it.])
Here are some reactions from around the country.
From Xavier Becerra of California:
Hard to believe, but true: members of the new Republican majority have introduced legislation that rips the hard earned Social Security benefits out of the hands of seniors, widows and disabled workers—and hands them over to creditors like China. This ‘Pay China First’ plan would treat retired American workers as second class citizens in line behind foreign lenders even though Social Security had nothing to do with the nation's $14 trillion debt. Working Americans want us to focus on cutting wasteful spending—and keep our hands off of their hard earned benefits.
House Republicans’ new proposal to put foreign creditors – including China – before American families is deeply troubling and will hurt our economic recovery. There is no question that we must come together as a Congress now to put a long-term plan in place to reduce the deficit. But this country must not put China first, and fail to extend that same full faith and credit to American taxpayers. We must get our fiscal house in order, and at the State of the Union the President laid out ideas to tackle this challenge. But for the new Republican majority to do so at the expense of the economic security of American families and seniors is reckless and irresponsible. Democrats will fight any legislation that doesn’t put American families first.
Kent Conrad, Chairman of the Budget Committee:
It is a dreadful idea. Basically what the Republicans are saying is pay China first; we're going to forget about the American public and the things that they need. Somehow they are secondary?
It is a dreadful idea. It's brinksmanship on the part of Republicans and they are resting it on the backs of the most vulnerable and least politically-powerful citizens of our country. One more in a long, long line of dick moves we'll see from the GOP over the next two years, no question.
I'm just sayin'...
Cross-posted at Eclectablog.com.