Political Animal


May 10, 2011 10:50 AM Kyl thinks big

By Steve Benen

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants $2 trillion in spending cuts or his caucus will destroy the economy. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is aiming even higher.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Monday that Republicans will likely demand cuts to the budget worth $6 trillion over the next decade in exchange for voting to raise the national debt limit. […]

Asked about the GOP’s goal to cut spending, Kyl said he’d push for $6 trillion in cuts over the next decade — which is in line with Ryan’s plan, but more than the $4 trillion than what President Barack Obama laid out over the next 12 years. […]

“The question is what is it going to take to get some House Republicans to vote to increase the debt ceiling?” Kyl said. “It’s a lot more than what you just said,” referring to statutory caps on spending.

Keep in mind, Kyl wasn’t referring to the budget fight for the next fiscal year — he’s looking for $6 trillion in cuts just to raise the debt ceiling before the early-August deadline.

And as best as I can tell, his comments were intended to be a factual statement.

I especially like that last point from Kyl about statutory spending caps being inadequate. Democrats could give Republicans arguably the most radically dangerous budget ideas of them all, and Kyl believes it still wouldn’t be enough.

In other words, Kyl is insisting that a proposal Dems simply can’t agree to isn’t even enough. This is just madness.

While he’s at it, maybe Kyl should throw in some more insane ideas. Republicans won’t raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. The GOP will throw the nation into default unless Democrats get Israelis and Palestinians to agree to a sweeping peace agreement by July. Republicans will block a debt-limit extension unless Harry Reid runs a three-minute mile — backwards.

I mean, really. What planet is Jon Kyl on? For that matter, why is this clown the guy Senate Republicans tapped to participate in White House budget talks?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on May 10, 2011 10:56 AM:

    "And as best as I can tell, his comments were intended to be a factual statement."

    Yes, well maybe in the Blitznitz Universe he travels back and forth to and from.

    Cue Gingrich, or some other random clown running for President, to come in yelling 10 trillion dollars.

  • mikefromArlington on May 10, 2011 11:00 AM:

    Maybe Dems should up it to eleventy-trillion!

  • Memekiller on May 10, 2011 11:00 AM:

    There's only one choice - let them not raise the debt ceiling. They've already made it clear that caving into the blackmail means they'll just start raising the debt ceiling in month increments to keep levereging the economy to destruction anyway. Plus, it's an empty threat - they've already admitted they have to raise the debt ceiling, they've already effectively painted themselves as the ones who would get the blame, and it would destroy their party to even toy with not raising the ceiling.

    So, Dems ought to encourage the right-wing noise machine to sell anything short of not raising the debt ceiling as treason, so that when they do have to capitulate and raise the debt ceiling, their base will be screaming for blood.

    This is the emptiest threat in the world.

  • idlemind on May 10, 2011 11:00 AM:

    why is this clown the guy Senate Republicans tapped to participate in White House budget talks?
    Keeps him off the street and out of trouble.

    Seriously, do you actually think they want to come to an agreement at this point? They needed someone who could maintain ridiculous positions long enough to run down the clock, and Kyl is good at that.

  • Ron Byers on May 10, 2011 11:06 AM:

    This is a little more dangerous than Boehner. Kyl is nuts and as a senator he can use the Senate Rules to create a lot of chaos unilaterally.

  • Mimikatz on May 10, 2011 11:07 AM:

    Make him specify what he wants to cut. Boehner too. Call tier bluff. Make them be specific. It will show they aren't serious.

  • Ben on May 10, 2011 11:07 AM:

    Nah. The statement was not intended to be factual.

  • kevo on May 10, 2011 11:07 AM:

    It will be a beautiful day on our lovely planet earth when Kyl and his ilk realize they are not only not needed as thinkers, nor decision-makers here in the early 21st century, but also their "participation" is turning out to be a wrecking ball on the edifice of our nation's economy!

    Hey Republicans: You're like reformed smokers, drinkers or other mal-adjusted social cretins who've awakened to "teach" the rest of us a lesson or two! Well, while you were smoking like a sieve, drinking like there was no tomorrow and promoting unpaid-for-prescription drugs to granny over the span of the Bush Years, you have finally awakened to share your ill-be-gotten hangover with the rest of us and push your new found moral calling on those who haven't been so reckless as you've been up until just about now (funk soul brother)! -Kevo

  • davidp on May 10, 2011 11:07 AM:

    What planet is he on? Obviously, the planet Pluto, where the plutocrats come from.

  • JS on May 10, 2011 11:08 AM:

    I thought that after Kyl was pwned in the battle over the new START treaty, even the Very Serious People of the village decided that he wasn't a very serious senator anymore.

    In fact, things are going so well he's already announced his retirement from the Senate, yes?

  • JQPublic on May 10, 2011 11:08 AM:

    As much as I like Steve Benen's commentary, until the management fixes this hobbled commenting system, I will boycott this site.

    Why don't the name & email fiels remember?

    Why Captcha?

    Most of us have been around blogs for years now. The best sites try to make it easy for their readers. It's not like there are no better systems available.

    Who's with me?

  • slappy magoo on May 10, 2011 11:09 AM:

    This reminds me of serial killers who start getting more and more reckless the more they are able to avoid getting caught.

  • Roger the Cabin Boy on May 10, 2011 11:16 AM:

    They chose Kyl because they're not really serious about cutting the deficit or the debt or anything. And they'd push the economy over the cliff in a heartbeat if they thought it'd improve their chances in '12, which they obviously do.

    Btw, Kyl blows goats. That was not intended to be a factual statement.

  • Mike on May 10, 2011 11:21 AM:

    Steve, with all due respect, I think that you're discussing this from the wrong angle. It is not unusual for the minority party to vote against raising the debt ceiling, it's happened each of the last eight times we've raised it, even when Republicans were in the majority. Second, this is really a battle of rhetoric. Republicans won't really let the country stop paying its bills, but they're going to use whatever leverage they have to get whatever they can. This isn't insane, it's business as usual in politics.

    Rather than repeating what Republicans keep saying, you should be asking what DEMOCRATS are saying. Do they have a counter proposal? Are they hammering home the problems that the not raising the debt ceiling could cause? Are they insisting that Republican proposals could cause lasting damage to our ecomony? Are they saying ANYTHING?

    If Democrats keep up their meekness in this and other issues, they're going to have to give up much more than they should, and their going to risk even more congress and senate senate seats in 2012, as well as the presidency. If they want to play their proper roll in this play, they have to step up, make the speeches, attack the republicans, and basically make their message known loudly and clearly. It seems to me that, right now, their not.

  • Old Uncle Dave on May 10, 2011 11:21 AM:

    A fifty percent cut to the budget of the Depts of Defense and HomSec should more than cover it. The citizenry won't be any less safe. The corporations of the military industrial security complex will see profits drop, but sacrifices must be made for the good of the country.

  • June on May 10, 2011 11:23 AM:

    I've come to the conclusion that all this GOP posturing is purely for the purpose of having some good propaganda footage for future campaign ads.

  • Daryl McCullough on May 10, 2011 11:24 AM:

    We have two related problems in this country (1) One major political party is controlled by liars, idiots and sociopaths. (2) Half the voting population seems to like that just fine.

  • Jamie on May 10, 2011 11:24 AM:

    What's the point of perpetually threatening to destroy the federal government, if you never try to destroy the government?

  • Bernard Gilroy on May 10, 2011 11:31 AM:

    Republicans won’t raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics.
    Yay, shout out to modern physics!
  • Marko on May 10, 2011 11:34 AM:

    "Rather than repeating what Republicans keep saying, you should be asking what DEMOCRATS are saying." - Mike

    When the other party decides to implode, the best thing is to not get in the way. Wall Street will straighten these boys out sooner or later. The Dems don't have to risk any political capitol at all and they know it.

  • DRF on May 10, 2011 11:37 AM:

    Mike--the difference is that, in the past, the general public was largely indifferent to the debt ceiling issue, so members of the minority party would posture to some extent about opposing fiscal irresponsibility, knowing that there would ultimately be sufficient bipartisan support for an increase.

    This time, the Republicans in Congress are playing to an energized, angry, frustrated base that has linked the debt ceiling issue with the budget and deficit issues. Unfortunately, the more Boehner and the rest play to the base, the harder it will be for them to back off.

  • Marko on May 10, 2011 11:43 AM:

    And to continue along with DRF's comments, when the House Republicans eventually get told by Wall Street to raise the debt ceiling with a CLEAN BILL, I hope the Dems do like they did with the recent Medicare vote: wait for all the Repubs to vote, forcing them to approve the bill, then go along with the usual party shenanigans and vote against it.

  • bdop4 on May 10, 2011 11:54 AM:

    I think the biggest concern for Dems is keeping the conservadem idiots in line. I'm still waiting for one of them to come out and propose some kind concession in the "spirit of bipartisanship."

    Any Dem who does that should be ripped from stem to stern.

    NOTHING short of a clean bill is acceptable on this issue.

  • KurtRex1454 on May 10, 2011 12:37 PM:

    Those who can govern, govern. Those who cannot govern, cut budgets.

  • CDW on May 10, 2011 12:52 PM:


    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! You hit it exactly. Are we not hearing from the Democrats because they're not saying anything, that they're being their meek spineless selves, or is it just more sensational to report on the cons?

    If the Dems aren't talking, why aren't they? We expect the MSM to ignore the Dems because that's what they do. But, please, liberal bloggers, talk to the Dems to find out what's going on in their feeble brains.

  • Jeremy B. on May 10, 2011 1:24 PM:

    Kyl's asking for $6 trillion now because when he dramatically asked for $1 million, everyone laughed at him.

  • James at home on May 10, 2011 1:27 PM:

    “The question is what is it going to take to get some House Republicans to vote to increase the debt ceiling?” Kyl said.

    About 6 inches of Koch.

    Actually Kyl just told us what it will take, Spending cap legislation. Kyl is pulling a brer rabbit, by saying he won't accept exactly what he actually wants.

  • bjobotts on May 10, 2011 3:00 PM:

    Notice how the focus is ALWAYS on spending cuts and never on increasing revenue. Roll back the Reagan tax cuts and close the corporate tax loopholes and then talk about spending cuts.

    The GOP (as usual) has it ass backwards. FIRST find ways to increase your revenue THEN decide what spending and how much needs too be cut. Our elected reps are constantly trying to please the Media agenda rather than the people's agenda. Tell me how you are going to increase revenues before telling me what spending needs to be cut.

  • chi res on May 10, 2011 4:16 PM:

    Good game!

    Republicans won't raise the debt ceiling until...

    Barack Hussein Obama changes his weird name and becomes a Real White American.

  • Doug on May 10, 2011 8:29 PM:

    There's no need for Democrats to say anything; it's not as if any Republican/Teabaggers would listen to them anyway - even if the Democrats agreed to EVERY GOP proposal, they'd just move the goal posts again.
    A "clean" bill will pass, the only question being how many Democratic votes will be necessary to do so. And how long Boehner will be Speaker AFTER the vote...
    There's also this to consider: the more Democratic votes needed to pass a clean debt ceiling bill, the less money Wall Street is going to hand out to Republican/Teabaggers.
    How so? Simple, barring a few financial nut-jobs, those who make up the financial fraternity of Wall Street are more interested in profits than ideology. Anything that interferes with profits; ie, Federal regulations, is to be fought. Anything that DESTROYS profits; ie, global melt-down of the bond/stock markets, has to be prevented from ever doing so again.
    Democrats may introduce disliked regulations, but they've never risked destroying the global economy for partisan gain (possibly because we're too smart, but that's a different topic...). I have little doubt that Wall Street would PREFER an unregulated market where they could drag down 15-20% annual profits. I also have little doubt that, faced with the choice between, say, 10% profit in a reulated market and NO profit from an economic collapse, they'll choose the former.
    Nor do I think they'll go out of their way to reward anyone who contributed to said collapse...

  • wesfromGA on May 11, 2011 2:02 AM:

    At least with Kyl, the Obama White House should have no illusions about the kind of sparring partner they have to deal with. They know from START the kind of political hack Kyl is, willing to put national security at risk for political points. He will do the same with the economy and the White House is not learning fast enough if they think otherwise.

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