House Dems invoke Reagan in debt-ceiling war

Some of the House’s most liberal Democrats have found an unlikely icon in their question to get their Republican counterparts to agree to raise the national debt ceiling: the late former President Ronald Reagan.

Yesterday, various Dems were shopping around this audio clip of Reagan’s Sept. 26, 1987 radio address, discussing the severe necessity of the United States meeting its obligations in regards to dealing with the national debt ceiling:

“Hell just might freeze over. I’m promoting a clip of Ronald Reagan,” Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, tweeted with a link to the video. “His words on raising the debt limit ring true today.”

And this morning, Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Taskforce Chairman Mike Honda, D-San Jose, along with CPC co-chairs Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Raul Grijalva, R-Ariz., are sending a letter to all House Republicans invoking the Gipper:

Dear Colleague,

We draw your attention to the attached letter from President Ronald Reagan to Majority Leader Howard Baker dated November 16, 1983. President Reagan was a staunch conservative whose views sharply differ from Progressives’ in nearly every respect. Yet, Reagan understood that the American people have invested their trust in our ability to be wise stewards. This is why President Reagan said, “This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default – – or event the prospect of default – – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate.”

How could we allow the full faith and credit of The United States of America to be as damaged as the credit of other nations that have defaulted on their sovereign debt?

We hope you will take President Reagan’s message to heart and put what’s best for America’s economy ahead of gaining a short-term political advantage. Let’s not hold the jobs and economic security of the American people hostage to an agenda that will only cause long-term harm to our great nation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.