The problem with a short-term debt limit increase is it muddies everything you’re trying to make clear.
Is it possible there could be a government shutdown fight in the coming weeks despite the fact that Republicans and Democrats recently agreed on a funding figure for the coming fiscal year?
GOP leaders say today that House Speaker John Boehner is prepared for another round of brinksmanship and is prepared to renege on the budget deal that the parties struck during the debt limit fight last month.
House Republicans confirmed that they had been actively considering a plan to tamper with the August budget agreement by cutting even more from 2012 spending in order to put pressure on Senate Democrats to come to terms faster on domestic bills for the coming fiscal year.
Politico reports, “Instead of the agreed-upon appropriations target of $1.043 trillion, a stopgap continuing resolution or CR this week would be calibrated at a lower $1.035 trillion level. The idea — promoted by Speaker John Boehner — was to effectively withhold about $8 billion for the first two months of the fiscal year, with the money becoming available only as Senate Democrats come to terms with the House on the dozen annual spending bills that cover government operations.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has argued that Congress should appropriate $1.043 trillion for the coming fiscal year, potentially putting him at odds with Speak Boehner.
Congress will have to temporarily extend all government funding in the next two weeks, and that temporary funding measure would be the Republicans’ vehicle for sequestering those billions of dollars.
For Senate Democrats, tampering with the August budget agreement is seen as a needless provocation. Where this mess could lead is even less certain.
Courtesy of Talking Points Memo
Is there any important moral difference between threatening to kill somebody in order to achieve a policy goal and threatening to deliberately unleash global economic chaos in order to achieve a policy goal? I can’t see any.
Jonathan Chait, “The Morality of Public Hostage Taking”
The battles lines are forming over the supercommittee, tasked with finding $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction or triggering huge cuts to defense and health care. The divide isn’t exactly that Republicans won’t agree to higher revenue and Democrats won’t agree to cut entitlements. It’s that Democrats will agree to cut entitlements only in exchange for higher revenue, and Republicans won’t agree to higher revenue no matter what.
The one commonality between all the liberal positions is the common belief that another all-cuts deal should not be acceptable. The default is a better option, even though it stinks.
Jonathan Chait, “What Should Liberals Demand From the Super Committee?”
The big debt limit vote in Congress, it is increasingly obvious, is just an appetizer for the divisive, voter-alienating struggles it has built into the schedule at key points during the 2012 presidential campaign, making an eventual GOP presidential nominee’s efforts to “pivot to the center” an athletic feat, at best.
Ed Kilgore, “The Debt Deal Makes It Nearly Impossible for the GOP Nominee to Pivot to the Center”
The most crucial difference between Clinton’s debt limit battle and the current crisis is that, in 1996, the Republicans were bluffing. No Republican seriously considered defaulting on the debt to be a viable option.
Kara Brandeisky, “How Clinton Handled His Debt Ceiling Crisis Better Than Obama”
I actually think the design of this plan is fascinating. You take a couple of the most powerful forces preventing major policy change — partisan gridlock and special interest influence — and turn them into forces for change by rejiggering the default setting.
Jonathan Chait, “How The Debt Committee Could Turn Republican Against Republican”