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Old 02-09-2014, 09:34 PM   #1
MDydinanM
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Here we go, again - Govt Debt Limit and its raising

My bet? Kick the can down the road, again.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...y.html?hpid=z1

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With the clock ticking, Republicans seek a solution to raising debt limit, but not a fight

House Republicans return to Washington on Monday still struggling to find a path to raising the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority, but the normally raucous caucus is in unusual agreement that the best option is to put the white-knuckle confrontations of recent fiscal wars behind them.

Facing a timeline that leaves no room for trial and error, some party leaders were advocating a debt-ceiling solution that would wrap several popular, must-pass items around a provision to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority beyond the November midterm elections. That approach has drawn support from some surprising quarters, but several senior GOP advisers made it clear over the weekend that such a proposal would require a bloc of Democratic votes, because about 30 Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances.


By Sunday night, Republican leaders had not conducted a formal whip tally on their side to determine how many votes they had, and no outreach had been made toward Democrats to determine what kind of support — if any — such a plan would receive from them.

Without as much internal dissent as in previous budget showdowns, Republicans still face a powerful enemy: the calendar. The House will adjourn Wednesday afternoon so Democrats can attend their annual issues retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and then the entire Congress is shuttered during the week of Presidents’ Day.

Once the chamber closes Wednesday, the House will not return for a full workday until Feb. 26, which is one day before Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said he will lose his ability to juggle the nation’s finances. The quick march would then begin toward defaulting on portions of the nation’s more than $17 trillion debt, sending global *financial markets reeling.

This time crunch means that unless Republicans quickly coalesce around a plan, the last week of February will bring another countdown moment before a critical fiscal deadline.

House Republicans are not sounding the confrontational drumbeat of other showdowns with President Obama, who has been adamant that he will accept no trade-offs for what he considers a simple exercise in guaranteeing that the federal government will make good on its debts.

The turn toward compromise signals a break from the tactics used by Republicans in past fiscal negotiations, particularly for those who took the lead in pushing House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) into a 16-day shutdown of the federal government in October.

“There is a pragmatism here,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who founded the Tea Party Caucus four years ago, said last week. “You’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. My assessment is that most of us don’t think it’s the time to fight.”

Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho), who took part in an aborted coup attempt against Boehner 13 months ago, said, “Our constituents are fed up with the political theater.”

Labrador has gone so far as to advocate turning over the House floor to Democrats and letting them pass a “clean” debt-ceiling hike mostly on their own, foisting political blame entirely on Democrats and raising no false hope among conservative activists that concessions can be wrung from Obama and Senate Democrats.

The attitude of resigned indifference on the debt fight surfaced during the House GOP’s issues retreat two weeks ago, at the same Eastern Shore resort where Democrats will huddle this week. There, according to a handful of Republicans in attendance, a pair of conservative writers — Kimberley A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review — urged Republicans to avoid the mistake of a shutdown strategy. Outside conservative groups led the effort last year to compel Obama and Senate Democrats to strip funding for the health-care law, but in the end Republican political standing plummeted, the government was reopened, the debt ceiling was lifted and conservatives got nothing in return.

Most Republicans agree with Strassel and Ponnuru’s viewpoint of avoiding a political pitfall, but Boehner’s leadership team and a wide swath of rank-and-file lawmakers want to get something else out of this debt-ceiling battle rather than just surrendering.

The issue is finding something that can get broad backing from the House GOP but also pick up Democratic support, shifting the onus onto Senate Democrats.

Many Republicans, anxious about the upcoming midterm elections, are urging Boehner to pass legislation that could win bipartisan backing, and the leading options are proposals that Democrats have voiced support for in other negotiations.

A handful of bargaining ideas have emerged, with a proposal to restore recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension as a leading option. Other ideas, such as tying a debt-limit extension to the “doc fix,” which would alter the way doctors are reimbursed for Medicare treatments, are in the mix.

One idea that gained traction over the weekend would combine the military and Medicare issues with the debt-ceiling extension, along with offsetting cuts that would prolong portions of the automatic spending decreases known as sequestration and changes to pension programs.

But some Republicans are fearful of tying the debt ceiling to the military pension issue, wanting to vote against the debt-limit hike but not wanting to cast a vote that could be portrayed as anti-veteran.

If none of those options gains traction, the fallback plan may well be Labrador’s. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) has pledged about 180 Democratic votes for a clean debt-ceiling increase, leaving the need for fewer than 40 Republicans to vote with Democrats or to just vote “present” to lower the threshold for reaching the majority.

On Friday, the Treasury began using “extraordinary measures” to buy time before it runs low on cash. The government’s cash on hand is expected to hit $50 billion on Feb. 27, after which Treasury officials fear they could fall short any day.

“If Treasury has insufficient cash on hand, it would be impossible for our nation to meet all of its obligations for the first time in history,” Lew wrote in a letter to Boehner.

In two of the three recent debt battles, Congress did not raise or suspend the borrowing limit until days before the Treasury-imposed deadline, causing mild anxiety in financial markets but not forcing any broad sell-off.

Nancy Vanden Houten, a senior analyst at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates, has estimated that Treasury could probably make payments until March 14, but department officials worry that even if they can make most payments, a failure to raise the debt ceiling by their self-imposed deadline would cause intense concern in the markets.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:09 PM   #3
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Oh yeah. That mfer is getting raised. The Republicans don't want to experience that backlash again. And it should get raised. That is not the problem. The problem is reaching it in the first place. When you authorize spending and when it is known that expenditures exceed tax revenues than it is assumed borrowing will cover the difference. This is a problem created by Congress. You fix it by paying your bills and than changing spending habits. The fight should occur during the budget negotiations.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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Oh yeah. That mfer is getting raised. The Republicans don't want to experience that backlash again. And it should get raised. That is not the problem. The problem is reaching it in the first place. When you authorize spending and when it is known that expenditures exceed tax revenues than it is assumed borrowing will cover the difference. This is a problem created by Congress. You fix it by paying your bills and than changing spending habits. The fight should occur during the budget negotiations.
I completely agree with everything you say. The difference is, I accept that none of that will ever happen. I also don't have a brilliant idea how to solve it. Do those of you on the other side of the spectrum from me have any great ideas? Srs question. So for now, I am fine with these regular battles over the debt ceiling. It is painful to watch, the GOP does usually get the blacker eye (not necessarily deserved), but it keeps the topic fresh in the minds of voters who, unlike us in PT, would not otherwise think or care about this very real issue.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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The debt ceiling wasn't an issue when Reagan raised it 18 times, or when Dubya raised it seven times.

Why is it a problem now that a Democrat is doing it?
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:16 AM   #6
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The debt ceiling wasn't an issue when Reagan raised it 18 times, or when Dubya raised it seven times.

Why is it a problem now that a Democrat is doing it?
So you are saying the amount of debt is never a problem?
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #7
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I'm saying you conservatives who think it's a big deal now never gave a fvck when your guy was doing it.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:46 AM   #8
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So you cared during Reagan and Bush? Or you don't care now? Which is it? Come on, you have to have formed at least one coherent statement of position on a PT topic, other than just bashing conservatives! Right? Or is that all you are capable of?

For the record, Congress raises the debt ceiling, not the president. And also for the record, I disapproved when Congress raised the debt ceiling during GWB as well. As for during Reagan, I admit to not being fully engrossed in debt ceiling debates then.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:51 AM   #9
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I didn't care then, and I don't care now.

Unlike you and your conservative brethren who didn't gaf when your guys were doing it, but now it's an "issue". Why is it a big hairy deal NOW?
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:53 AM   #10
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And also for the record, I disapproved when Congress raised the debt ceiling during GWB as well.
That should be easy for you to prove. Link us to multiple Cabrio debt ceiling handwringing posts from the BushCo years.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:01 AM   #11
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I didn't care then, and I don't care now.

Unlike you and your conservative brethren who didn't gaf when your guys were doing it, but now it's an "issue". Why is it a big hairy deal NOW?
Slooow down there, partner! First of all, I said I did care during GWB. You apparently missed that. Second, a lot of conservatives cared!

But to your question about why now, see if you can follow along: It is entirely possible to engage in activity at one level, and not have that activity present problems that are worse than the benefits. But it is also entirely possible that if you increase that activity, at some point the problems will outweigh the benefits.

Therefore, in summary, it is completely rational, logical and honest for someone to say the debt ceiling level has increased to a level that is now a problem, even though it has not previously been a problem at lower levels. It is also fair and reasonable to debate whether or not current or projected debt ceiling levels are problematic, and by doing so, one is not necessarily a hypocrite.

I hope this explanation is helpful to you. Any more questions I can answer for you?
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:03 AM   #12
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I didn't care then, and I don't care now.

Unlike you and your conservative brethren who didn't gaf when your guys were doing it, but now it's an "issue". Why is it a big hairy deal NOW?
You don't care because you are closer to the end of your life than the rest of us.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:04 AM   #13
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You don't care because you are closer to the end of your life than the rest of us.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:06 AM   #14
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That should be easy for you to prove. Link us to multiple Cabrio debt ceiling handwringing posts from the BushCo years.
Sorry, it might shock you to learn that I haven't been posting in PT since the dawn of time, or to learn that PT isn't the only forum for people to engage in political discourse or, in your case, ignorant bashing.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:08 AM   #15
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Sorry, it might shock you to learn that I haven't been posting in PT since the dawn of time, or to learn that PT isn't the only forum for people to engage in political discourse or, in your case, ignorant bashing.
How convenient.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:10 AM   #16
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You don't care because you are closer to the end of your life than the rest of us.
You don't know that. You could get shot by a retired policeman in a theater next weekend.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:14 AM   #17
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How convenient.
Here: just before I posted this comment, I swore with my right hand on a Bible that I really did not like when Congress raised the debt ceiling during the period 2000- 2008. Better?
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:16 AM   #18
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Here: just before I posted this comment, I swore with my right hand on a Bible that I really did not like when Congress raised the debt ceiling during the period 2000- 2008. Better?
Should have used your left hand - the one you don't fap to pictures of Reagan with. It would have had more meaning.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:17 AM   #19
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Basically, I think the Repubs have run out of feet to shoot themselves in after those previous debt/budget debacles of theirs. It's quite clear; it will be raised without GOP hostage taking attempts again. There will be some perfunctory posturing/chest-beating/demagoging on the far right/TP fringe, but that's it.

Backstory: isn't the deficit rate plunging lately, which takes a lot of the wind out of the GOP's wailings on the issue?

As for the question of GOP credibility regarding the importance of the debt:
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney: "Deficits don't matter."
  • Aforementioned numerous times GOP presidents raised the debt -- without Dem hostage-taking attempts attached to them.

While a fringe on the right did raise more heartfelt objections during GOP administrations, they were only on the fringe and did not reflect GOP party thought, much less actions. I think this issue -- the debt -- while of some substance (some on the left are a bit too ready to dismiss its importance) is primarily:
  • A cudgel of convenience with which to bash the Dems.
  • A backdoor avenue to effectively evicerate Federal spending/power for its own ideological sake -- the "starve the beast" approach.
  • A sop to their radical right/TP fringe (well, I hesitate calling that a "fringe" anymore).

Last edited by Rhumb; 02-10-2014 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:18 AM   #20
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You don't know that. You could get shot by a retired policeman in a theater next weekend.
Agreed, but all other factors aside, death at an old age when the cells in our bodies have reached the end of the road...you're ahead.
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