Sen. Johnson: Democrats "Trying To Blackmail" Republicans Into Raising Debt Ceiling

May 20, 2011 12:21 pm ET — Julia Krieger

This morning on Fox News, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) clumsily dismissed the dangers of failing to raise the debt ceiling by accusing Democrats of "blackmail." Attempting to explain to America's Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer why Democrats in the Senate have not yet passed a budget, he sputtered that Democrats are "trying to blackmail" Republicans into raising the debt ceiling.

HEMMER: Why do you think we haven't seen one?

JOHNSON: Well, I think they're afraid to put one forward. It's absolutely irresponsible. It has been now 751 days since the Democratically controlled Senate has passed a budget. And the other thing that's very irresponsible is for this administration to be going out and scaring the public about what may happen if we don't increase the debt ceiling. They're trying to blackmail us, and that's just wrong.

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Of course, the reality is that if anyone is trying to commit blackmail, it's Republicans. What Johnson forgets in his rant is that his own party is all too happy to hold negotiations hostage by playing chicken with the debt ceiling, attempting to use the vote to avoid default as a "leverage moment" to insist on slashing Medicare and preserving tax breaks for the wealthy.

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