In several previous posts, I have expressed my strong distaste for Congressman Jim Banks, who will be the Republican candidate for US Senate in 2024. It seems only fair to explain at least some of the numerous reasons for my revulsion.
Marc Carmichael, the likely Democratic candidate, has outlined a “top ten” of the far-Right, culture-war issues championed by Banks that Carmichael opposes. Here are just a few of them:
- Banks’ adamant opposition to abortion for any reason, and his celebration of the Dobbs decision.
- Banks’ opposition to a ban on military-style assault weapons.
- Banks’ dismissal of climate change and government efforts to counter it.
- Banks’ ugly attacks on LGBTQ+ youth. (As Carmichael accurately observed, those children are “being used as political pawns by mean-spirited, calculating Republicans who needed a new social wedge issue” after Roe v. Wade was overturned.)
- Banks’ support for gratuitous tax cuts for the rich and for corporations.
There is much more–there are very few MAGA positions that escape Banks’ fervid support–but in addition to his full-throated embrace of Donald Trump and MAGA orthodoxy, Banks is one of the Rightwing lawmakers whose willingness to send the country into default is a result of monumental ignorance of the difference between fiscally conservative budgeting and raising–or refusing to raise–the debt limit.
A recent report from State Affairs Pro included an interview in which Banks enthusiastically supported the crazies’ opposition to raising the nation’s debt ceiling. “Congressman Banks made clear he was opposed to raising the debt limit.” (Banks said he would continue to fight for ‘fiscal conservatism.’)
Banks clearly doesn’t understand the Constitutionally-mandated process for spending tax dollars.
The Constitution requires that Congress make all spending decisions—the President proposes, but Congress disposes. Sometimes–okay, often– Congress authorizes more spending than the government collects in revenue. That requires government to borrow the difference, in order to cover the deficit that Congress has already authorized. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Congress also votes to authorize borrowing that exceeds the previously-set debt limit, or ceiling. This seems silly, since that vote comes from the same Congress that has already voted for the spending that requires the borrowing, but the practice of raising the debt ceiling has historically been uncontroversial–for years, the ceiling has been raised by votes from large, bipartisan majorities. More recently, as MAGA Republicans have substituted pandering for governance, a significant minority of GOP Representatives has refused to vote to raise the ceiling.
This is insane.
Failing to raise the debt ceiling would do nothing to reduce the national debt. Instead, it would cause the U.S. to default on what it owes. All economists, conservative and liberal, agree that if Congress were actually to fail to raise the ceiling, the results would be catastrophic. Such an act would require the United States to stop paying many of its bills—very much including social security and medicare, defense contractors and members of the military. Economists warn that such a failure to pay our bills would likely precipitate a worldwide economic collapse.
The last thing the U.S. needs is another Senator who either doesn’t understands that or doesn’t care.
When it comes to international affairs, his record is equally disastrous. Banks joined 69 other Republicans (led by loony-tunes Rep. Matt Gaetz) in voting for an amendment to strip all current and future military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Vladimir Putin’s horrific and illegal war.
A look at the rest of Banks’ voting record confirms his unsuitability for any public office. He has voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the For the People Act of 2021, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, the Chips and Science Act, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, and the Respect for Marriage Act—among others.
He hasn’t alway voted no–he voted for impeaching President Biden for some unspecified reason.
Politico has reported that,
During the summer of 2021, Chairman Jim Banks sent a memo to members of the Republican Study Committee encouraging them to “lean into the culture war.”
The head of Congress’ largest conservative caucus sent a memo titled “Lean into the culture war” to its Republican members, encouraging them to embrace anti-critical race theory rhetoric.
Earlier this year, Banks vowed to start an “anti-woke” caucus, joining MAGA warriors Ron DeSantis and Kyle Rittenhouse.
Today’s GOP is now the Trump party, and Jim Banks is an enthusiastic member of the looney-tune wing of that sorry assemblage. He is the Hoosier version of Marjorie Taylor Green, uninterested in actual governance and fixated on performative culture war.
Dick Lugar must be spinning in his grave at the thought of Jim Banks as an Indiana Senator.