All those who had bets on the House Republicans blinking in their debt ceiling brinkmanship can now collect and look smug. I have to admit, I didn’t think they would but…
House Republicans plan to introduce legislation next week that would increase the nation’s borrowing authority for three months, a tactical retreat that postpones a looming showdown over whether the party is prepared to hike the U.S. debt ceiling.
The measure is contingent on both the House and Senate’s ability to adopt a budget within the next 90 days, a feat that the Senate hasn’t managed to pull off in nearly four years. Failure to do so in either chamber of Congress would strip representatives of their pay.
“We must pay our bills and responsibly budget for our future. Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget,” House Majority Leader said in a statement.
That would set up a threefold March deadline: a further agreement to raise the debt ceiling, solving the sequester before it hits and a resolution to fund the government beyond March 27, when it is scheduled to run out of money.
However, the White House, while saying it is encouraged by Cantor’s statement, is insisting on a clean debt limit increase, while the GOP rank and file are still insisting on obstructivism and may yet revolt.
Dan Drezner still thinks the GOP is shooting itself in the foot.
If the full faith and credit of the nation shouldn’t be a subject for debate, and if the GOP now realizes this is not a good arena for political combat, why kick this can down the road for less than three months? All this does is set up House GOP members to have to vote multiple times to raise the debt ceiling. Why force numerous no-win votes if you can economize on the pain, have one vote early in everyone’s term, and then engage in actual budgetary politics?
The Republican bigwigs at their Williamsburg retreat this week have seen the polling – they know it still sucks. But they’re fighting a battle on two fronts where the most dangerous enemy is not the President but their own people. This is the best damage control they can do without triggering a full-on tea party revolution.