Hanging over the issue of federal debt ceiling is the little matter of a downgrade of our international credit rating if Congress doesn't act. There's hardly any room for dissension within the House. But there's no sign that House Republicans will step up and do their job. The Texas delegation -- chiefly Senators John Cornyn and newly elected tea partyer Ted Cruz have made it clear they're not alarmed by the threat of downgrade.
Cornyn argued that Republicans should be prepared to force a partial government shutdown to extract concessions from Democrats on significant spending cuts and entitlement reform.
“It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain,” Cornyn wrote. “President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.”
Two other prominent GOP conservatives, Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and newly elected Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), have made similar arguments in recent days. ...WaPo
They're flirting with real trouble -- trouble for the country but also an exacerbated problem for the already unpopular Republican party. The House leadership looks worried -- but also unbelievably lazy and irresponsible. Get this:
There is exceedingly little time for Republican Party members to get on the same page, complicating the strategy for a party emerging from the chaos of “fiscal cliff,” the politics of Hurricane Sandy relief and an attempted rebellion against Boehner in his bid for a second term as House speaker.
The House is out until Jan. 14 and back in session for just three days each of the following two weeks. The Senate returns to Washington on Jan. 22. That means both chambers will be in session for only a few days before Feb. 4, when the limit deadline will be weeks away. ...WaPo
It seems as though House Democrats and President Obama are looking seriously at the 14th Amendment as the only way of paying our bills and avoiding deep embarrassment of the US in international markets.
Some congressional Democrats have been calling on him to make that promise even more explicit by pledging to invoke the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and raise the federal debt limit without seeking the approval of Congress — a move backed by some liberal lawmakers and commentators during the previous debt-ceiling fight.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her most direct support to date for such an approach at a news conference on Friday, telling reporters, “I would do it in a second, but I’m not the president of the United States.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney last month ruled out a potential move by Obama to bypass Congress, telling reporters that “this administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period.”
But threaten and then retreat in disarray seems to be the Republican modus operandi these days. Maybe they'll actually do their job after another round of childish rants and delays.
You can, uh, take this to the bank.
Joking aside, it's good to know there's a grownup in charge.
"One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic." ...quote from President Obama's weekly radio address at Political Wire