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September 26, 2013 05:20 AM MDT

GOP Trades Shutdown Frying Pan For Debt Ceiling Fire?

  • by: Colorado Pols
Ready for Round 2?
Ready for Round 2?

That's the latest report from the Washington Post today:

With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation's debt limit.

If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.

But it would set the stage for an even more nerve-racking deadline on Oct. 17, with conservatives using the threat of the nation’s first default on its debt to force the president to accept a one-year delay of the health-care law’s mandates, taxes and benefits…

Obama said he would not negotiate delays or other changes to the law as part of budget talks or the debt ceiling process, saying “the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

Economically, the consequences of Congress refusing to raise the so-called "debt ceiling" would be far greater than the impacts of a government shutdown. The last major impasse over raising the debt ceiling in 2011 was extremely costly to Republicans politically, helping sink already-dismal approval ratings for Congress in truly unprecedented territory. Each episode helps convince undecided voters that Republicans, as a party, are more interested in ideological fits of pique than governing–and risking the nation's credit rating is just not a responsible thing to do.

But if that's the road Republicans want to go down again, they'll have no one to blame but themselves when–and not if–it blows up on their faces as it did two years ago.


8 thoughts on “GOP Trades Shutdown Frying Pan For Debt Ceiling Fire?

  1. They've got a more valuable hostage in the debt ceiling and they know it.

    They're not asking for just the Obamacare delay – they want everything they've been pouting about for the past 5 years: gutting the CFPB, regulation repeals, tax reform to help the rich and hurt the poor (and put the country into an even deeper debt crisis)… They want it all; they want it now.

    Even the thought of a debt ceiling crisis downgraded US credit ratings in 2011. If they head down this route expect further financial market disapproval well before Oct. 17. If House Republicans are still insisting on this by October 10th – if they don't have something passable in the hands of the Senate by then – we can kiss this recovery goodbye for a while.

  2. Obama could invoke the 14th Amendment. He would be following the Constitution, do what is best for the country, and save the misguided Republicans from the financial crisis backlash.

    1. I'm with you. It's been a solution the Administration hasn't been warm to in the previous 3 debt ceiling kidnappings, but at this point, if it is truly a viable direction, then take it!

      I know last time The President actually said he didn't think it was. He's a Constitutional Law Professor, and his opinion seems to differ with others'

      Jonathan Turley believes the way the Amendment's written makes it clear that the President could and should intervene. Words like "The validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned" seem to back Turley.

      Rep./House Minority Leader Pelosi agrees. The vast majority of the Democratic Members of the House do.

      I don't know why the President nixed it again day before last through Jay Carney at the WH presser, but maybe it's so as not to inflame the situation.

      As if the house republicans ever needed inflaming

      1. You are absolutely right, Roccoprahn. Rule one for stopping hostage takings:don't negotiate with the terrorists it merely emboldens them. I understand that a shutdown will bring the recovery to a screeching halt, but to hear them talk, I'm not sure the Teapublicans do.Harsh as it is, I say let them shut it down. Then they can go home and get their ears blistered by the angry phone calls coming their way and check their mailboxes for the campaign fund that don't arrive. Surely, some reasonable Democrats should be able to ride the wave of anger into those soon-to-be embattled Tepublican seats if they spin this story properly.

  3. I really think that this is a constitutional crisis. The House is willing to blow up the economy if they do not get what they want.  If the president gives in, this establishes a new normal. The house will be in complete control.  The constitutional check and balance is the power of the purse.  But they are not exercising that power.  That would require them to pass a budget and reduce expenditures.  Instead, they are refusing to honor the government's debts as a threat to get consessions that they cannot otherwise get throught the normal legislative process.  Some speak of the Constitution as if it is a magical/mystical document. It is not. If this type of rule by "threat of destruction" is constitutional, the constitution needs to be changed.

  4. Helpful shutdown flow chart from NY Times via the Maddow blog.

    I think that we are on the last tier of this decision chart.

    Don't negotiate. Call the bluff. Shut it down, even with all of the hardship this will entail, even for myself and members of my family. It can't be sustained for more than a few days.

    Otherwise, as others have remarked, we have just invalidated the democratic process. Legislating, voting for bills, electing people? All cumbersome, lengthy processes, as they should be.

    Instead, go to threats, doomsday scenarios, and recall elections any time the Teahadist will is thwarted. Like being governed by a bratty two-year-old.

  5. These people have no sense of honor or decency. (Old fashioned words, I know. ) But there is absolutely no guarantee that GOP reps won't use both  threats – shutdown and refusal to raise the debt ceiling.

    With the debt ceiling fight, though, Obamacare registration will have been operating for two weeks (although the actual insurance doesn't kick in until Jan 1 2014). People will have been seeing real numbers and benefits for their family health.  Many will already be enrolled in a plan.

    There is much less chance that the GOP will be able to gin up the hysteria that they're counting on now.

    1. Absolutely.

      My understanding is that a huge portion of the providers are up and running. At this point, as they say, "Obamacare's not goin' anywhere". It's here to stay. Disassembing the frame work this LAW…………not Bill………….LAW         mandates would be so expensive and non productive that the basic health care framework would be compromised.

      If the reds in the House don't know that, they're clueless, incompetent unqualified hacks that should not be representing this government. If they do know the ramifications, they're traitors.

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