Then & Now: The changing rhetoric in the debt-limit debate

Then & Now: The changing rhetoric in the debt-limit debate

How politicized is the vote over the debt ceiling?

The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib may have captured it most succinctly, when he signaled that, since 2002, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGardner signals support for taking up Supreme Court nominee this year Grassley, Ernst pledge to 'evaluate' Trump's Supreme Court nominee McConnell digs in on vow to fill Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat MORE (R-Iowa) voted for each debt limit increase asked for by President Bush and against each request from President Obama.


Grassley's long-time Iowa colleague, Democrat Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring Ernst challenges Greenfield to six debates in Iowa Senate race Biden unveils disability rights plan: 'Your voices must be heard' MORE? The exact opposite.

What does all that mean? 

Lawmakers who in the past wanted debt ceiling increases with strings attached now say that approach would be playing politics.

And high-ranking officials, when talking about the debt limit, sound an awful lot like their predecessors with whom they had little in common, ideology-wise.

“This vote is a checkered vote on both sides of the aisle, where people are posturing on it, both Democrats and Republicans are posturing on it, including me, and it's unfortunate that we've done that to one another,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House minority whip, said recently.

Of course, with the Treasury Department saying that lawmakers still have less than two months before they absolutely have to raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling, there rhetoric will only become more heated in the weeks to come.

On the following pages are some examples of changes of heart and odd echoes over the years.

From the: Oval Office | Treasury
Democrats: Obama | Reid | Rangel
Republicans: Grassley | Pence