House GOP Blinks Once On Debt Ceiling

Eric_Cantor  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.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “Just because the bear is eating you slowly doesn’t mean you aren’t dead.” — that’s an old proverb I just made up.

    Didn’t Obama demand, just the other day, either a clean long-term raise or else presidential authority to raise the limit by executive order? Didn’t he say that there would be no negotiations?

    Now with this three month proposition what happens?

    0) The three month offer gives a middle finger to Obama who can only talk tough.

    1) The GOP retains its capability to force a government shut-down. They’ll have exercised their option to control the timing of such a shut-down.

    2) The GOP will have more tightly tied sequestration negotiations to the threat of a government shut-down.

    3) Some pundits will help give the GOP cover here by declaring this three month extension a sudden “return to sanity” rather than calling it what it was — the playing out of the GOP’s stronger position.

    Much is made of how this effects polling for the GOP but those articles talk about inconsequential, national approval ratings (and such). What really matters for the GOP is whether it has the House by the throat with a secure majority (it does), whether it remains strong enough in state governments to push for electoral college reforms to have a go at the WH (the GOP remains sufficiently strong at the state level), and whether the Obama administration has any actual leverage against any of this (it doesn’t — at least none that is yet visible).

  • When I read this, earlier today, my only thought was….it’s manipulation of the masses; a game of no substance. They are pretending to do their job, but they’ve already chosen when to stick the knife into their “enemy.” After reading comments like, “The GOP blinked,” it seems Liberals have bought into it as well.

    The TP has no qualms about destroying America in their fight to gain control. “Divide and conquer,” Christian style.

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