Tag Archives: federal debt ceiling

Democrats rescue the country, for now — see you in December

So Conservatives mounted opposition to Trump’s deal with Democrats, but failed to stop it in the Senate:

Conservative lawmakers voiced their opposition to President Trump’s deal with Democratic congressional leaders, arguing the three-month government spending bill that also raises the debt ceiling should not be passed because it does not include federal spending cuts.

The chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee objected to the agreement in a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) proposed an amendment to pass relief for Hurricane Harvey victims as a stand-alone bill in the upper chamber, decoupled from debates over federal spending and the debt ceiling.

The moves came just as news broke that Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) are working on a separate deal that would repeal the debt ceiling by DecemberMy God, he’s giving up our hostage! — another betrayal by the president that would erase one of the few points of leverage conservatives have to extract spending cuts during high-stakes fiscal debates.

Opponents failed to derail the package combining $15.25 billion in Harvey aid with a temporary debt-ceiling hike and funding to keep the government open until Dec. 8. The Senate passed it on Thursday afternoon, sending it back to the House for final approval.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 80 to 17. All “no” votes were Republicans. Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain both voted “no.” (This was a “safety” vote — it was going to pass by a safe margin so they could afford to be dicks about it).

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World’s ‘greatest negotiator’ gets rolled by Democrats, throws GOP leadership under the bus

During the campaign, Donald Trump sold himself as a great deal maker and great negotiator, and enough of the low information rubes voters who don’t know any better bought that con job and made him president.

The self-proclaimed “greatest negotiator” met with GOP and Democratic leadership on Wednesday to negotiate a budget deal, raising the federal debt ceiling to avoid a default at the end of September, nd hurricane relief aid for Texas.

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” made the GOP position clear at a press conference earlier in the morning. Ryan and the septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, just assumed that Trump would tow the GOP line since he, you know, is the leader of the GOP.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made the Democrats’ opening low-ball offer, and the world’s “greatest negotiator” said “fine, we’ve got a deal,” throwing his own GOP leadership under the bus without even making a counter-offer or attempting to negotiate. I’m sure Chuck and Nancy must have given each other a confused look that said “Wait, did we just win? This is way too easy.”

I love this photo from Roll Call — the look on the faces of the Senate GOP leadership says it all. So this is what a constipated turtle looks like.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 6.23.37 AM

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12 days in September: a potential disaster-in-the-making

Congress has scheduled only 12 working days in September. The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman recently laid out the disaster-in-the-making that the month of September may bring. Republicans are heading for a hellish month. Trump will only make it worse.

Republicans are facing an extraordinary period on Capitol Hill, one which will require work, skill, care and luck to navigate successfully.

Even in the best of circumstances, it would be an incredibly difficult challenge. But it will be made even harder by the fact that the person who should be their greatest asset — the president — is in fact their greatest impediment.

Here’s a quick list of what Republicans are facing over the next six weeks:

  • If Congress doesn’t pass a budget bill by the end of September, the government will shut down.
  • If Congress doesn’t pass an increase in the debt ceiling by the end of September, the United States will default on its debts, potentially triggering a global financial crisis.
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which insures about 9 million children, needs to be reauthorized by the end of September.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) needs to be reauthorized by the end of September.
  • Republicans want to pass sweeping tax reform as soon as possible.
  • The White House still wants to pass an infrastructure bill.
  • Many Republicans in Congress still want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and conservatives in the House are attempting to force a vote on full repeal, reigniting the debate that was so disastrous for them.

How is President Trump confronting this set of challenges?

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Raising the federal debt ceiling: the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time

The recurring obligation to raise the federal debt ceiling was scheduled to coincide with the end of the current fiscal year on September 30 to give GOP hostage takers some leverage with passing next year’s budget.

It does not appear remotely possible that a budget will be ready by the end of this fiscal year, so once again Congress will wind up approving another short-term continuing resolution (CR) when it returns from its August recess.

GOP leaders also may have lost any leverage they hoped to gain from holding the federal debt ceiling hostage for their budget. Congress may have to act before the August recess.  The Washington Post reports, Trump administration warns tax receipts are coming in slowly, government could run out of cash sooner than expected:

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday said that tax receipts were coming in “slower than expected” and that the federal government could run out of cash sooner than it had thought.

Mulvaney’s comments, which came during a House Budget Committee hearing, resurrected an issue that Congress has mostly ignored in recent months but that will soon force some tough political decisions.

A few hours later, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin echoed these concerns, telling another House committee, “I urge you raise the debt limit before you leave for the summer.”

“We can all discuss how we cut spending and how we deal with the budget going forward, but it is absolutely critical that where we’ve spent money, that we keep the credit of the United States as the most critical issue,” Mnuchin told the House Ways and Means Committee. “It is the reserve currency of the world.”

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