Over at The Plum Line, Greg Sargent has an important post about the way the debt ceiling fight could end without triggering a cash-crunch crisis for the federal government. Greg thinks is could be one of two possibilities.
First, the House GOP could agree to a version of the plan first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that helped solve the last debt ceiling fight in August 2011. That plan effectively transfers the ability to raise the government's borrowing to the president. Greg notes that this time the plan would be approved over the legislative equivalent of McConnell's dead body, that is, over a filibuster McConnell himself would lead. Greg also notes, however, that there may well be enough Senate Republicans willing to join the 55 Democrats to make this happen.
Second, Greg says that the same combination of Democrats and some Republicans in the House that voted for the fiscal cliff deal would likely approve the McConnell plan or a clean debt ceiling increase if the GOP leadership allowed the vote to take place.
The day after Election Day is never a good time to do substantive analysis. The win seems bigger to those who won and those who lost usually are more despondent than the situation warrants.
That's the situation this morning: Democrats are crowing about permanent new demographic shifts in the electorate while the GOP is doing the standard soul searching by those who didn't accomplish what they had hoped.
As far as the federal budget is concerned, this will all change tomorrow when the caffeine induced highs and lows of the election are replaced with the realization that some very big fiscal cliff deadlines are now just seven weeks away.
Here's the situation:
1. At some point very soon -- probably around noon today eastern time -- the mood will change as the House GOP realizes that it is the last bastion when it comes to taxes and spending.
The common wisdom is that the popular vote will be so close on Tuesday that no one who is elected will be able to claim a mandate to do anything.
It may, in fact, be the truth: The U.S. is so split on anything having to do with the budget and that split may be so obvious in the election results that that no one in the White House, House or Senate should see any message in the voting about how things should change on the budget.
But "truth" will not be the most relevant factor. In fact, the close election results and what now appears to be a White House and Congress in 2013-2014 that will look remarkably similar to the ones that existed in 2011-2012 will be taken as an indication that no one should do anything different from what they've been doing the past two years.
In other words, obstruction and unwillingness to compromise will continue to be the orders of the day.
The mainstream media and blogosphere lit up like Christmas trees yesterday when 80 CEOs came together to call on Congress and the president to agree on a comprehensive deficit reduction plan that includes revenue increases and spending cuts. Here's David Wessel's story from the Wall Street Journal.
(Note: I'm linking to the story on the Fix The Debt website only because you need a subscription to the WSJ to see Wessel's story there. This definitely is not an endorsement of Fix The Debt.)
As I told Janet Novak of Forbes yesterday, while it's great to see the CEOs engaged on the issue there's much, much less here than meets the eye.
The ultimate value in the CEO statement is that it lends credence and provides some political cover for members of Congress who vote for a deficit reduction plan that includes tax increases and Medicare and Medicaid cuts.
My latest podcast -- the third in my new weekly series -- is the stage and screen version of my latest reading of the fiscal cliff tea leaves.