As ThinkProgress has been documenting, a number of Republican lawmakers are risking financial calamity by threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling unless certain demands are met. Now, at a town hall event last week in Georgia, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) had a particularly absurd ransom to demand for raising the debt limit. In an exchange recorded by True South Radio and uploaded on YouTube, Broun said that he wouldn’t vote to hike the ceiling without major cuts. When asked what those cuts would be, Broun said he wants to see the Departments of Education and Energy abolished:
BROUN: I want to make this clear. I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we have major cuts in the size and scope of the federal government.
MULTIPLE CONSTITUENTS: Can you define major?
BROUN: I propose getting rid of the Department of Education. I’d like to get rid of the Department of Energy as well.
The U.S. has already hit its debt limit, but the Treasury Department is taking extraordinary steps to stave off default until early August. So Broun is demanding these departments be abolished within the span of less than three months. At the same town hall, Broun defended his vote to preserve subsidies for big oil companies, saying that while he believes we should “stop all subsidies,” the special tax breaks and expenditures for oil companies don’t really qualify as subsidies.