MSNBC’s Chris Matthews tore into the GOP’s plan of tying the increase in the nation’s borrowing limit to a laundry list of Republican policy priorities on Thursday, leading one Republican congressman to dismiss the consequences of a debt default and government shutdown.
Matthews slammed Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) for his party’s willingness to shut down the government and compromise the full faith and credit of the United States to defund a law of the land that was legitimately passed and upheld by the Supreme Court.
Perry twisted himself into knots in an attempt to legitimize the GOP strategy of shutting down the government while denying the gravity of a government shutdown. He insisted that “Medicare patients are going to get their checks. People in the army are going to receive their paychecks.” Watch it:
The Hardball host ridiculed House GOP leadership for its proposed debt ceiling bill, calling it a “Dear Santa letter of Republican pipe dreams, including the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.” Matthews continued by tearing into the Republican’s unprecedented strategy, saying, “I’ve never heard of the congress holding up the government saying they will not continue to exist unless we kill a law of the land. It’s never been done that I’ve ever heard of.”
While the Pennsylvania Republican initially asserted that this strategy had been employed many times, he was unable to name a single instance in the face of Matthews’ repeated questioning.
Finally, Perry surrendered, admitting “I don’t know if its happened before…”
Matthews pressed the congressman further, asking him, “How about the defaulting on debts? Will it matter?” In response, Perry seemed to reject the widely-held belief that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would have dire economic consequences, saying “Let me tell you what matters to the American people. Trillion dollar deficits unbridled with no plan to change it.”
Christopher Butterfield is an intern for ThinkProgress.