Total Surrender on the Debt Ceiling

Stan Collender on the humiliating defeat of House Republicans, a month early:

How much of a surrender is the House GOP plan? Consider the following:

1. The plan doesn’t just allow the government to borrow more, it requires the existing ceiling to be ignored. The party that supposedly was the darlings of the Tea Party is proposing that the same federal debt ceiling that up-to-now it has likened to a tool of Satan be treated as if it’s not there and doesn’t matter.

2. The ignoring is allowed to continue until May 15. At that point, the debt ceiling will increase automatically to accommodate the additional borrowing the government has done between now and then. In this GOP-proposed version of the “look ma, no hands” theory of budgeting, House Republicans are voting to raise the amount the government borrows without anyone having to go on record to do it. They don’t even get a campaign issue to use against Democrats in 2014.

3. The bill includes a provision that requires that the salaries of representatives and senators be withheld if their respective house of Congress doesn’t adopt a budget resolution this year. But the provision doesn’t require that the two houses agree on a budget, just that each pass something of their own. No agreement on the budget resolution means that reconciliation– the procedure used in the Senate to avoid a filibuster on spending cuts and revenue increases and, therefore, makes them more likely to happen — can’t be used because that can only happen pursuant to instructions in a…you guessed it…budget resolution agreement. Therefore, the House GOP forcing the Senate to pass a budget resolution means nothing.


  1. I will be curious to see if the Democrat controlled Senate actually introduces a budget this decade.

  2. Instead of putting it in warlike terms, why not just consider it a healthy thing? The 2nd party had an intra-party discussion and identified a strategy that wasn’t working and made the country look bad at the same time. The ground is better prepared now for a meaningful discussion on the lines of what you’ve already talked about–cuts (including defense) and tax increases. –where no one gets everything.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      They were demanding a stupid thing, and now we need to shame them for ever having demanded it in the first place.

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