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GOP Lawmakers Auction McCarthy’s Chapstick for $100K During Debt Crisis Meeting

The money raised will go toward funding the GOP lawmakers’ own future campaigns, Politico reported.

Then-Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) reacts as members of the House of Representatives cast their votes for Speaker on January 3, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Members of the GOP conference in the House of Representatives met on Tuesday to discuss issues relating to the debt ceiling crisis — though much of their time was focused on auctioning off a used tube of lip balm for campaign fundraising.

Politico reporter Olivia Beavers revealed on her Twitter feed that, during the Republican conference on Tuesday afternoon, $100,000 was raised by auctioning lip balm that was used by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California). The winner of the auction was Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, in addition to the lip balm, also won access to McCarthy for her donors and supporters.

Greene called it an “honor” to win both the chapstick and direct access to the Speaker.

The $100,000 raised in the auction will benefit the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the campaign arm of Republicans in the House.

Democrats, meanwhile, expressed dismay with Republicans for not using the time for its scheduled purpose — addressing the debt ceiling.

“They [are] doing this insane chapstick shit while the country teeters on default. Wild,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

“Spending $100,000 on chapstick while working overtime to gut the programs that working families rely on,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-New York) said. “GOP priorities in a nutshell.”

Republicans have also been criticized for demanding the federal government address the crisis by gutting social spending programs rather than taxing the rich.

In an op-ed for Truthout earlier this month, Sasha Abramsky noted that the debate on the debt ceiling is a manufactured crisis, especially when a simple solution — raising taxes on the wealthy — can be used to fix most of the problem without cutting programs intended to help those in need.

Republicans “are wrong in blaming anti-poverty programs, environmental investments, overseas aid, federal education spending and all their usual bugbears, for the U.S.’s finances being so out of whack,” Abramsky wrote.

Instead of cuts to the social safety net, the answer is simple: Tax the rich.

The current crisis exists, Abramsky explained, because “U.S. leaders choose to spend far more on the military than do other countries, and also because over the last several decades the U.S. has consistently under-taxed affluent American individuals and lowered the corporate tax rate that companies must pay.”

“There’s plenty of money to be tapped at the top to fund social programs and, at the same time, to start paying down the national debt,” Abramsky added. “But what there isn’t is a bipartisan political will to go down this more equitable path.”

Indeed, tax cuts by former Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, which largely benefited the ultra-wealthy, are mostly to blame for the current debt crisis, Truthout news writer Sharon Zhang reported back in March.

Had such tax cuts not been implemented from 2000 onward, “the national debt would remain stable indefinitely,” Zhang wrote.

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