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January 22, 2013

Old And Busted: Boehner Promises Dollar For Dollar Spending Cuts For Any Hike In The Debt Ceiling.
New Hotness: 4 Months Of Debt Ceiling Hikes And No Spending Cuts

John Boehner has been running around saying any hike in the debt ceiling must be offset by a dollar for dollar (or more) cut in spending for a long time.

Now he will bring a bill to the floor of the House tomorrow that will suspend the debt ceiling for four months and include ZERO cuts in spending.

House leaders, after unveiling the legislation Monday, are planning to hold a vote Wednesday on their plan to allow the government to keep borrowing through May 18.

While the short-term increase is getting mixed reviews, the second plank of the legislation -- meant to pressure Senate Democrats to pass a budget -- has also raised questions.

Under the proposal, Congress would withhold the pay of lawmakers in either the House or the Senate if their chamber fails to pass a budget by April 15. House Republicans have passed budgets for two consecutive years, but the Senate hasn't passed one since Obama's first year in office.

...

As for the debt ceiling provision, the legislation does not set a specific limit; rather it would automatically increase the limit by the amount required to fund U.S. government obligations through May 18.

The pay withholding thing is a gimmick. I'm torn on because it's a stupid feel good symbolic act (they will all get paid eventually) but there are a lot of idiots who like stupid things. Maybe this will get their attention.

As for forcing the Senate to pass a budget, Chuck Schumer says no problem but be careful what you wish for.

Senate Democrats announced Sunday that they will oblige and produce a budget — but warned it will include higher taxes that Republicans oppose.

"We're going to do a budget this year," Schumer said hours before Obama officially began his second term. "And it's going to have revenues in it. And our Republican colleagues better get used to that fact."

Great, so we're back to the GOP defending "millionaires and billionaires" again. And I'm sure some members of Team GOP will say, "Oh but the final cuts will retroactively include this four months of debt increase". Does anyone think Democrats (or Republicans) are going to "pay for" something they've already gotten for free?

Before you answer that remember, the "payment" for the last debt ceiling hike in 2011 still hasn't kicked in.

Obama is going to start with the $800 billion in revenue Boehner generously put on the table for nothing and demand that that be counted against the debt hike so that "dollar for dollar" promise becomes "some cents from taxes, some cents from "cuts that won't happen"" an over all spending will go merrily along.

You can say the GOP has a weak hand an this will be the best it can do. Fine, then stop promising to fight and win. If the GOP is going to cave on all of this at some point, better to do it now in one giant surrender than spend the next 6 months or more surrendering on a weekly basis.

Added: AlexTheChick reminds me of something I was asking about yesterday but never got an answer....Why can't Obama use a 4 month 'suspension' in the debt ceiling to borrow enough to cover for the next year or two? The market couldn't handle that kind of float but the Fed could and probably would.

Will the GOP write in strong enough limiting language or are they inviting Obama to just take this mess off their hands?

UPDATE: A source on the Hill (stop laughing, I have some) says the language of the debt ceiling suspension limits how much Obama can borrow based on the date of incurring the obligation.

SECTION 1. TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEBT CEILING.

(a) Suspension.—Section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on May 18, 2013.

(b) Special Rule Relating To Obligations Issued During Suspension Period.—Effective May 19, 2013, the limitation in section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, as increased by section 3101A of such title, is increased to the extent that—

(1) the face amount of obligations issued under chapter 31 of such title and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) outstanding on May 19, 2013, exceeds

(2) the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of the enactment of this Act.

An obligation shall not be taken into account under paragraph (1) unless the issuance of such obligation was necessary to fund a commitment incurred by the Federal Government that required payment before May 19, 2013.

So there's that.


digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:34 PM

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