Posts tagged Debt Ceiling
Over the past couple of days, we got to see President Obama’s balls. We’ll see how that progresses; once upon a time, he insisted that he wouldn’t accept a deal out of Congress that didn’t seriously address the budget issues. That appears to no longer be the case, as he announced yesterday that he would sign a three-month deal proposed by the House.
The House votes today on House Resolution 325, a debt ceiling increase that is expected to last until May. It’s nice to see that Congress isn’t waiting until some bills are past their due dates, unlike last time. Some have suggested it’s because Republicans have discovered that they lost far more in that previous battle than did the Democrats. Certainly the debt ceiling battle didn’t prevent Obama from being reëlected, nor did it throw the Senate to the Republican Party.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Richmond, VA) initially proposed denying Congressional pay unless a budget was passed. It is perhaps a fine idea (California implemented such a policy for its own legislature), and could perhaps have been implemented during the Reagan years. But it can’t be implemented today. (more…)
Back in May, I predicted a series of likely budget confrontations facing Congress late this year or early next: the expiration of the payroll tax holiday, the need to again raise the debt ceiling, expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the sequestration of funds mandated by the last debt ceiling deal, the annual October 1 end of the fiscal year, and possible moves on spending, Social Security, and Medicare. Last week, I gave an update dealing with sequestration, and another update this week on votes concerning the Bush tax cuts.
These important issues might go in unexpected ways. Yesterday, in a relatively quiet no-drama bipartisan deal, leaders of both Houses and both major Parties reached agreement to keep the federal government running until after the November election. It’s but a six-month continuing resolution, which means they’ll have to come back to the subject next year, but they got it done two months early instead of waiting until well after the last minute.
Since announcing the American Jobs Act, President Obama has taken a more combative stance toward Congress. Through the first two and a half years of his first term, the President has tried to work with Congress, attempting to cajole them and negotiate with them, push where he could, back off when necessary, in his attempt to get the best deals he could for the American people.
Republican opposition, on issue after issue, has been unyielding, absolute, and inflexible. Since the Republicans took over the House, this has been especially apparent. Republicans will not allow anything to be enacted that is supported by the White House.
President Obama’s response has been to take off the gloves. No more Mister Nice Guy. The era of trying to negotiate with a brick wall is over. Rather than try to work with people whose only objective is to defeat him next year, the President is acting on his own to help America recover from the Great Recession. His strategy is working, and Republicans are playing right into his hands. (more…)
Are you going to Scarborough Fair
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine
From England long ago comes the song “Scarborough Fair”, more recently popularized by Simon and Garfunkel. It struck me as somewhat of an allegory to the debt ceiling. Allow me to explain.
It was a nail-biter up until the final vote, but on Monday, August 1, just hours before the Treasury-imposed deadline, the House passed legislation allowing for an increase in the debt ceiling.
The House voted 269–161 to pass the bill, once called “An Original Bill to Make a Technical Amendment to the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002″ but now gutted and reborn as the Debt Control Act of 2011. (Roll call votes at the embedded link.) As of this writing, the Senate has scheduled a vote for noon Tuesday August 2, but passage is virtually certain.
As I watched the drama unfold, first from an unfamiliar hotel room and then in an airport waiting area, I found myself asking two questions.
1. How did this come to pass? What were the House whips doing?
2. What’s in the deal?
So, here’s the deal. (more…)
Here we are, two business days away from the hard ceiling on the debt limit, after blowing through the acoustic tiles a couple of months ago. And yet, there’s no passed increase in the debt ceiling.
The House is supposed to be voting on their bill as we post this. It’s not clear that the House alone can pass a bill on the debt, let alone the House, Senate, and President together.
It’s fine to make a statement via one’s votes, or to grandstand in a debate. That’s the political side of government, and it’s a necessary part of getting people involved in the discussion. But, at the end of the day, government’s first job is to run the country. The debate comes second.
Drawing on my House reference above, it’s fine to remind an obese person who’s having a heart attack that they really need to diet. But perhaps the cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a little bit more important right now.