If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again.President Obama • Warning of possible conflict on the horizon, so soon after the “fiscal cliff” fracas was resolved — you’re not surprised, are you? The debt ceiling fight between the White House and congressional Republicans in 2011 was so acrimonious, and brought the country so close to the brink of default, that Obama is clearly eying this as the next major battle ahead of him. The showdown will likely come in February or March, as the Federal Reserve can employ a bevy of accounting tricks and maneuvers intended hold off hitting the limit until then, but after the political capital expended during last week’s negotiations, we can do little but wait and see how this all ends out. source
This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal…I don’t think this has ever happened before.Sen. Dick Durbin, after Mitch McConnell’s latest scheme blew up in his face. McConnell introduced legislation today that would allow the president to unilaterally raise the debt limit, suspecting that Democrats wouldn’t have the guts to vote for it. When it became clear that Democrats did indeed have the votes to pass the bill with a simple majority, McConnell filibustered it, preventing its passage. The United States Senate, ladies and gentlemen. source
» Question: If Boehner goes ahead with this, will anybody, Democrat or Republican, have any reason to believe he’s negotiating in good faith next time a deal needs to be reached? Obstructionism is one thing, but to make an agreement, pass that agreement in the form of legislation, and then attempt to get out of that agreement when things don’t go your way is another. Make no mistake; the debt ceiling will have to be raised again; we’re not sure how negotiations can even commence, let alone conclude, if this is how Boehner plans to go about things.
boehner’s bill falls short: After a chaotic day of vote-whipping, vote-delaying, and vote-switching, John Boehner has decided to postpone the vote on his debt ceiling bill. Despite multiple assurances that it would be brought to a vote before tomorrow, at the end of the day, Boehner didn’t have enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage (and he wasn’t going to embarrass himself by introducing a bill that was sure to fail). In an unusual alignment, conservative Tea Partiers and House Democrats all pledged to vote against the bill, albiet for different reasons. While the legislation has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, Boehner’s ability to shepherd it through the House is seen by many as the first real test of his leadership abilities. If he doesn’t eventually pass it, there’s a good chance he’ll (eventually) be deposed as Speaker. But it’s not over yet—sources say Republicans plan to tweak the bill a bit, and re-introduce it tomorrow. source
The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.John McCain • Ripping the Republican Party on the Senate floor. He later derided House Republicans’ approach to the debt-ceiling discussions as “the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.” source (via • follow)
Medicare Means-testing on the way? President Obama is eying this common Republican policy idea as a means to a big debt limit deal. As the White House was careful to point out, for the benefit of a liberal base dim on imposing costs on low-income recipients, the Affordable Care Act has already resulted in slightly higher premiums for couples earning over $170,000, or singles earning $85,000 — his ideal would be to raise these further, to “modestly higher premiums.” The question is, would it work? The GOP has been abandoning their own policy proposals when Obama gives them a thumbs up since the health care debate; modest as this is, and we don’t see why that would change. source
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Look, he owns the economy. He’s been in office for three years. We refuse to let us entice us into co-ownership of a bad economy.Senator Mitch McConnell • Basically validating our suspicions about his proposed debt limit fail-safe, where the job of raising the limit would be transferred from congress to President Obama. He also subtly acknowledges the core weakness the Republicans have had in the debt limit debate all along; they’ve pushed so hard to convince portions of their base that they’d be willing not to raise it, the public at large can see plainly which party even made such an economically horrifying idea possible. As such, the GOP is in a tough spot, knowing they have to raise the limit (because they’re not truly ignorant to what it would do to the economy, as shown by McConnell’s own words), but also knowing they’ve stoked elements of their base against the idea for months. We seriously doubt they can placate that base with the new plan. source (via • follow)
Mitch McConnell knows what he wants. That’s a very critical thing to remember when examining his new debt limit proposal, which would essentially transfer the power to raise the limit from the congress to President Obama. This may seem innocuous, but is a very political decision; forcing Obama to be the sole person taking an affirmative action to raise the limit, then giving congress a vote of “disapproval” that he’d likely have to veto feeds into the narrative of fiscal irresponsibility the GOP craves. The plan would also force Obama to re-up the limit three separate times before the 2012 election, which is theoretically a big political price to pay. Add in that the increase has to be paired with at least an equivalent amount of spending cuts, and what you see is less the grand compromise than what the GOP has wanted all along — spending cuts and no new revenues.