'Sugar-coated Satan sandwich': Missouri paper shreds Congress for meaningless debt ceiling fights
Mitch McConnell

On Thursday, the Kansas City Star editorial board tore into Congress for the perpetual fights over the debt ceiling — outlining these battles as meaningless brinksmanship that accomplishes nothing.

"The hypocrisy surrounding debt ceiling votes has been obvious to all for decades. In Missouri and Kansas, Republicans and Democrats who have been around long enough have voted for debt ceiling hikes, and against them, repeatedly and without shame," wrote the board. "Ten years ago, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver called a debt ceiling bill a 'sugar-coated Satan sandwich.' Others have even more colorful descriptions. Those votes have nothing to do with the wisdom of approving an increase in federal borrowing. They’re designed to embarrass the other party, or the president, or both. It’s a horrible way to run a government, or to pay the nation’s bills."

In particular, the board took offense with how the parties throw the debt ceiling into unrelated bills — most recently, a bill on behavioral health changes to Medicare.

READ MORE: Lindsey Graham ‘berated’ Mitch McConnell on debt ceiling deal: report

"Piling different bills into one huge measure confuses voters, which is part of the point. It makes it almost impossible for regular people to decipher congressional decisions. That makes the practice bad enough," wrote the board. "But it’s worse than that, because massive catchall bills allow members of Congress to deflect any responsibility for their choices. Members of the House and Senate can, and do, take credit for the things in bills they think voters want, and disclaim parts of bills they don’t like, without penalty or scrutiny."

The debt ceiling was almost breached earlier this year, averted only by a last-minute bipartisan deal that far-right lawmakers tried to scuttle. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed not to provide votes for increasing the debt ceiling again in December, saying Democrats would have to do it on their own, but he caved again, producing more tension in the Republican caucus.

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