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debt ceiling

Posted by Stan Collender

There are two money quotes in a column by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers on Bloomberg about the extreme debt ceiling threat House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) unilaterally decided to issue a few weeks (ht Mark Thoma):

Posted by Stan Collender

There's not much I need to say to introduce my column from today's Roll Call other than that I really felt I had no choice but to write this as directly as I did. A special shout out to Roll Call for not blinking even once when I told them what I wanted to write this week

The Irresponsibility of Speaker John Boehner

May 22, 2012, Midnight

Like most federal budget watchers, I assumed that the extremely negative political reaction to the federal government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 meant that tactic wasn’t likely to be threatened again, let alone actually used. That changed last year when a shutdown became the favored approach for many on Capitol Hill.

Posted by Stan Collender
No one should have been surprised that House Speaker John Boehner yesterday said that he was going to go to war this fall with the White House over the debt ceiling.
Boehner simply doesn’t have the freedom from the House Republican caucus to move away from that extreme/take-no-prisoners position at this point in the year. Had he in any way indicated five+ months before the election and 7 months before not raising the debt ceiling will become a critical problem that he was willing to avoid a fight (let alone use the word “compromise’), Boehner would have been immediately slapped down by other House and Senate Republicans and had one or more GOP members announce that they were going to oppose him for Speaker.
Boehner had no choice and his statement on the debt ceiling was totally predictable.
However valuable Boehner’s hard line was with the base, it’s hard to imagine that his position will help the GOP in any way with the independent voters they will need to be successful in November.
Posted by Stan Collender

Roll Call is reporting that the White House has decided to delay making the formal request to Congress that it previously announced it would make today for the third increase in the federal debt ceiling that is allowed by the Budget Control Act, the debt ceiling increase deal enacted in early August.

This means that the 15-day period during which Congress may consider a resolution of disapproval will not expire while the House and Senate are out of session and that representatives and senators who want or need to vote against the $1.2 trillion increase in the government's borrowing limit will have an opportunity to do so.

As I posted several days ago, there is no practical effect of this change because the debt ceiling is virtually guaranteed to be raised whether or not there's a vote. The disapproval legislation will be vetoed anyway in the unlikely event that both houses adopt it, and there isn't a two-thirds majority in either the House or Senate to override.

Posted by Stan Collender

There was a flurry of activity in the media and on Wall Street yesterday after the White House let it be known that it was going to request a $1.2 trillion increase in the federal debt ceiling on Friday.

I received a number of calls from reporters and clients wanting to know if this was just a bureaucratic exercise of the government's responsibilities or a power play by the Obama administration that would end up angering Congress and starting yet another round of hyperbolic and hyperventilating fights over the budget.

Everyone please take a deep breath. This may be fun to talk about but doesn't change the very likely outcome -- an on time increase in the debt ceiling -- in any way.

Here are the basics:

1. To request this increase, the Obama administration is using the procedure agreed to in the Budget Control Act that was enacted in early August. This is the same law that created the anything-super committee that so completely failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

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