House Democrats say they know what Ronald Reagan would do
July 19th, 2011
07:18 PM ET
12 years ago

House Democrats say they know what Ronald Reagan would do

WASHINGTON (CNN) - What would Ronald Reagan do? It's a question many Republicans often ask, but on Tuesday Democrats turned to the former president's words to argue he would raise the debt limit.

House Democrats released new video that features a Reagan radio address from September 1987 during which he called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

The video, which Democrats called "An Adult Moment," begins with a white screen showing an old-school radio microphone, then President Reagan's voice is heard while certain key words flash on the screen.

"Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility, " Reagan says. "This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world."

Near the end of the 54-second video, an image of President Reagan is shown on the screen with the caption "That was an adult moment."

Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson pointed out that Reagan raised the debt limit many times.

"This is defaulting on the nation's responsibility and could not be put more bluntly and more articulately than (when) Ronald Reagan laid it out in 1987," Larson said. "In fact, 17 times Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling and without the taking of any hostages. Yes, there were political disagreements as there always are, but at the end of the day the country voted bipartisanly to make sure you didn't put people on the brink."

It's not the first time Democrats have invoked the Gipper's name during the debt debate.

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama talked about Reagan in his own presidential radio address.

"We've worked together like that before," Obama said. "Ronald Reagan worked with (House Speaker) Tip O'Neill and Democrats to cut spending, raise revenues, and reform Social Security."

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • House Democrats • Ronald Reagan
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Republican Robber Baron

    Facts Don't Matter to the Republican Robber Baron Corporatists. Raygun raised taxes 11 times AND frequently worked across the aisle and had great relationship with the opposition party.

    July 19, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    Context is EVERYTHING. Reagan wasn't running up $1.7 TRILLION in deficits A YEAR and setting the country up for $13-14 TRILLION in NEW DEBT during his 8 years in office. If Reagan was alive today, he'd be a Tea Party candidate. The Democrats and their Progressive base have put the pedal to the metal trying to bankrupt this country in record time. Ronald Reagan would NEVER had let that happen.

    July 19, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    The Republican have already said they will cooperate to raise the debt limit. They just want to do it with responsibility and reduce spending so the next debt limit is not just another joke on the American taxpayer. How Obama took this as another opportunity to raise taxes is pathetic, but he is wearing blinders and has no idea how to solve the problems he is faced with.

    July 19, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. Dawn

    Dear Sane Republicans,

    Do you finally see what Democrats and Independents have seen for decades? Do you finally see that the Republican Party is doing everything within their power to ensure that the rich will continue to get tax breaks and that they will continue to chip away at the social safety nets put in place to protect the old, the sick, and the poor? They are risking our whole Nation. Will you continue to drink their koolaide?

    July 19, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The really sad part is that we all know what the Tea Party would do to Ronald Reagan. They would run a candidate against him just like they have done to other candidates who have not passed the muster with their thought police.

    July 19, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. The Unsub

    Ronald Reagan wouldn't even support these Republican wackos!

    July 19, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    "Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson pointed out that Reagan raised the debt limit many times."

    Yes, and I think if Reagan were alive today, he would agree with the architect of "trickle-down" economics, David Stockman, that IT DOESN'T WORK.

    Maybe it would have back in the day when most businesses cared about their communities and saw value in investing in their people and their country – unlike today's multi-national corporations who have no qualms paying lip-service to God and country, all the while (like Romney) breaking up companies, laying off American workers and shipping jobs overseas.

    July 19, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Ron

    Republicans are so FIRED! Can't wait for 2012. Yep, it will be a tough ride until the new congress is sworn in to fix the damage these Tea partiers have done to OUR country. John Boehner will be remembered as the WORST speaker of the house and biggest failure as speaker ever. He knows it already. He probably wants to cry right this instant.

    July 19, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. king

    republican are criminals. raise it or lose house in 2012.

    July 19, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Aaron

    Dems are really testing my resolve to vote for them. Reagan was an idiot working only for the interests of the wealthy. He started the debt crisis with drastically cutting taxes for the rich and operating the government on credit. These revisionists that make him out to be a hero are liars beyond belief.

    July 19, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. Albo58

    Reagan hasn't been President for awhile now and he never had a $14T deficit so this is like comparing oranges to hand grenades! Perhaps a better reference would be to compare President Obama's idea to Senator Obama's idea! According to Sen. Obama, raising the debt would be an example of a lack of leadership!

    July 19, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. Peter s

    Raise the debt ceiling and tell those angry old men to get the hell out of his way, he has a job to do!!
    Reagan wrote: β€œThe full consequences of a default – or even the serious prospect of default – by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar.” Is this what President Obama said? and the GOP naysayers said he is scaring people. Folks wake up !and stop ridding the teabags wave it's destruction will make our children the poorest among the developed Nations.

    July 19, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |