“Thieves! Fire! Murder!” This exclamation uttered by Radagast the Brown in the movie The Hobbit was not too far off from MSNBC’s Alex Wagner’s characterization of the GOP House Freedom Caucus members who opposed the McCarthy-Biden debt ceiling deal on her eponymous show on Tuesday night.
Wagner claimed the “Far-right Republicans” were going to “hold the U.S. economy hostage” and “would blow up the pretty fragile U.S. economy, they would tank the stock market, and push hundreds of thousands of people onto the unemployment line.”
Her wild exaggeration is nothing but pure speculation and fearmongering as no one knows for sure exactly what a default on the debt would do to the economy, even if it were to happen, though Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL.) indicates the bill will pass in a quote she herself plays later.
It should also be mentioned that since the airing of the show, the debt ceiling bill has gotten past the House Rules Committee and made it to the House floor for a vote, and even if a default does happen, whose fault would it really be? Democrats control the Senate and the White House. Joe Biden and the Democrats’ spending has caused the very economic problems that made the economy “pretty fragile” and led to this situation where the debt ceiling needs to be raised.
Wagner reached peak insanity with her next points, though. What she absolutely can’t stand about the debt ceiling debate is that Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC.) tweeted a vomit emoji about the bill. A vomit emoji! How will the Democrats ever recover? And Chip Roy called it a “turd-sandwich!” These were the things that Wagner feels the American people need to know about the debt ceiling bill.
But worst of all is the fact that Democrats will actually have to work with Republicans to pass the bill:
So, that means tens, maybe over 100 Democrats may have to pull this thing over the finish line. To be clear, there is no big list of new Democratic policies in this deal … But this is certainly not a wish list of Democratic demands, which is why it is ironic that it is likely to now be Democrats who will have to pass this thing to avert an economic collapse.
Bipartisanship? Horrible. Democrats needing to find common ground and compromise with Republicans? An abomination. Extending the national debt to the highest level it has ever been is clearly something that should only require Democrats’ approval. Don’t like that? Well, you’re a far-right extremist taking the American economy hostage. Here’s some advice: if Democrats do not like dealing with the fact America is not a one-party state and the other party can sometimes force a compromise in exchange for their votes, maybe don’t run for Congress at all.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight
9:00 PM ET
ALEX WAGNER: And thanks to you at home for joining us this evening. For the past several months, we have watched the far-right wing of the Republican Party hold the U.S. economy hostage. Far-right Republicans in Congress demanded major concessions for the Biden White House or else it would blow up the pretty fragile U.S. economy, they would tank the stock market, and push hundreds of thousands of people onto the unemployment line. So, a potential catastrophe, of their own making.
And now there is a deal on the table to stop that catastrophe from actually coming to pass. Over the weekend President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hammered out an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default. And Republicans, they got some of what they wanted in this deal. It claws back unspent COVID relief funds, it creates new hurdles for some people who are trying to access food assistance and other federal programs, and it cuts funding from the Biden Administration's plan to go after rich tax cheats and make them pay the taxes that they owe.
But perhaps unsurprisingly, none of that was enough for the far-right wing in Congress that demanded the standoff in the very first place.
[Cuts to video]
REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): Absolutely and completely unacceptable. Trillions in trillions of dollars in debt for crumbs.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): If you're out there watching this, every one of my colleagues, be very clear, not one Republican should vote for this deal. It is a bad deal.
REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): I thought the last plan wasn't good enough. I had no idea, I had no idea that we would see a plan as ephemeral and as malodorous as this plan.
PERRY: This deal fails, fails completely, and that is why these members and others will be absolutely opposed to the deal, and we will do everything in our power to stop it.
[Cuts back to live]
WAGNER: Those were members of the House Freedom Caucus today offering their assessments of this deal. Conservatives have not been shy. They have found many ways to emphasize how much they do not approve of this plan: it is ephemeral, it is malodorous.
Shortly after the details of the deal were released, Congressman Dan Bishop tweeted the vomit emoji to display his disapproval. That's the vomit emoji right there. Congressman Chip Roy went on Twitter and called it a turd, hyphen, sandwich, adding an unnecessary hyphen for, I don't know, emphasis?
The criticisms were not subtle. These conservative members, people like Scott Perry, Chip Roy, Andy Biggs, none of them are likely to vote for this thing, but apparently a lot of other Republicans may not vote for it either.
[Cuts to audio]
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I think that it will pass with about 80 to 100 Democrat votes and between 140 and 160 Republican votes. I think the coalition opposed to this will be like the Squad and the Freedom Caucus and it will rocket through the Senate after it passes the House. And I think that there is no serious threat to McCarthy’s speakership.
[Cuts back to live]
WAGNER: So, that means tens, maybe over 100 Democrats may have to pull this thing over the finish line. To be clear, there is no big list of new Democratic policies in this deal. What Democrats get out of this agreement is a promise not to blow up the American economy on purpose, the preservation of almost all of president Biden's legislative achievements over the past two years, and an agreement that Republicans will not get a chance to do this all over again before the next election.
Now, okay, given everything that was at stake, that is not nothing. But this is certainly not a wish list of Democratic demands, which is why it is ironic that it is likely to now be Democrats who will have to pass this thing to avert an economic collapse.