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Tipsheet

Flip-Flop: Here's What Biden Said When He Voted Against Raising the Debt Limit in 2006

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden, after the White House said he would refuse to negotiate on a bill to raise the debt ceiling, has been grumbling and whining about House Republicans' desire to address out-of-control spending in legislation to increase the United States' debt limit. His press secretary has demanded that the House GOP not put any conditions on allowing the Democrats' spending binge over the last two years to continue, but Biden will now meet face-to-face with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Wednesday. 

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The oppositional Biden who McCarthy will face this week is quite different from the Biden who spent decades serving in Congress, and voted against increasing the debt limit as a U.S. senator in 2006 — because of course Biden has also flip-flopped his position related to allowing more spending. In fact, he didn't want anything to do with increasing the debt limit. 

On March 16, 2006, then-Senator Biden took to the well of the Senate to deliver an impassioned speech arguing against raising the debt limit, and his words are unrecognizable from the rhetoric of President Biden today.

Attacking "the disastrous policies of this [George W. Bush's] administration," Biden explained that "because this massive accumulation of debt was predicted, because it was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamentals of economic management, I am voting against the debt limit increase."

Biden continued, lamenting that the country's "national debt will be $8.6 trillion at the end of this year" and worrying President Bush's budget "will bring that number to $11.8 trillion at the end of the next 5 years."

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How about that? Well, the national debt has now reached its current limit of $31.381 trillion — so what's Biden's reason for demanding not only the debt limit be increased by House Republicans, but lifted without conditions? 

Back in 2006, Biden slammed the need to raise the debt limit and policies that led the country to that point as the result of an "utter disregard for our Nation's financial future" and "indifference to the price our children and grandchildren will pay to redeem our debt when it comes due." Is Biden no longer concerned about America's children and grandchildren who will bear the financial pain wrought by his administration? 

As a Senator, Biden said "[h]istory will not judge this record kindly" — so how does he now expect to be judged? 

Closing his remarks in 2006, Biden explained that his "vote against the debt limit increase cannot change the fact that we have incurred this debt already, and will no doubt incur more," apparently foretelling his own administration's tax-and-spend binge that began some 15 years later. "It is a statement that I refuse to be associated with the policies that brought us to this point," Biden declared. 

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Well, now it's his signature on a roster of tax-and-spend bills from the last two years that necessitate the debt limit vote now. He can't un-associate himself from "the policies that brought us to this point" however much he might try. And perhaps Speaker McCarthy should remind Biden of his previous statements about raising the debt ceiling when he was the one casting votes on the debt ceiling as a member of Congress. 

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