The Senate passed a bipartisan deal to suspend the debt limit early Friday morning, but not before libertarian darling and presidential candidate Rand Paul mounted what he referred to as a filibuster against the bill. (Really it was just a 20 minute speech).
One of the main talking points Paul used to argue against the bill was that the suspension of the debt limit, as opposed to the raising of the limit to a new, specific dollar amount, grants the President a blank check to spend the people’s money on whatever he pleases:
But this is just not true. With a debt-limit suspension, the Treasury can only borrow money for spending that has already been authorized by Congress. While it’s true that the main drivers of federal spending–Social Security and Medicare–are entitlement programs whose costs rise automatically without annual Congressional approval, they are still programs that were approved by Congress. And Congress can, if it wants to, cut spending on these programs and obviate the need for the Treasury department to borrow more.