Congressional Game of Chicken: Dueling Debt Plans

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As we move closer to the debt ceiling limit and defaulting on the debt, two proposals have been put forward by opposing sides. The Republicans have put a bill together that will come up for a vote on Wednesday that calls for a two-step plan that would allow the debt limit to be raised by $1 trillion and create “a “Super Congress,” composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers.”

From the Democrats, House Majority Leader Harry Reid has proposed $2.7 trillion in spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling through 2012 with no revenue increases but would not touch any of the big three social safety nets. It does include the proposed “super congress”:

“made up of 12 members, to present options for future deficit reduction. The committee’s recommendations will be guaranteed an up-or-down Senate vote, without amendments, by the end of 2011.”

There are a few problems though. The first problem is the neither bill will pass both houses. The other obstacle two-fold. Reid’s bill will need 60 votes for cloture. It is unlikely that Reid can convince four Republicans to vote for it. He may get able to convince Sen, Olympia Snowe (R-VT) and Sen. Collins (R-ME) but he also must get the blue dogs to fall in-line. The only way I can see Reid getting this bill to the floor for a vote is to use the “Cheney nuclear option” and call bull shit on the filibuster. They don’t have the guts for that.

House Speaker John Boehner has similar problems. He needs 217 votes to pass. With 89 tea party Republicans many who signed a letter refusing to raise the debt ceiling no matter what the deal, Boehner would need to convince at least 23 to 50 Democrats. That won’t happen either. Some of the tea party crew may break tier “oath” since they are taking heat from their constituents at home. The House bill stands a better chance of suvival.

If both bills by some miracle pass, then it goes to reconciliation and both bills have to be voted on again. This isn’t going to happen in less than a week. If only the House bill makes it, the Senate probably reject it. That is the most probable scenario.

That leaves one option and it falls back to the White House to use the 14th Amendment, Article 4. Obama has already rejected this option but as it gets closer to August 2 and default, given the choice of a constitutional crisis versus a global economic melt down, let hope Obama put his “big boy pants on” and starts acting like a responsible adult who has to make a decision not everyone is going to like.


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    • TMC on July 27, 2011 at 4:56 am
    • banger on July 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I am trying to evaluate the relative political strengths of different factions. I didn’t expect the right to dig in quite this drastically. I figured that the oligarchs were looking, for now, for relative stability with a sputtering recovery where the lion’s share of profits went to the finance oligarchs. All this storm and fury by the Tea Party right surprises me. What are they after?

    The only explanation I can come up with is that there are factions within the oligarchy who actually want to destabilize the situation to speed up the inevitable but slow drift towards neo-feudalism. They want it to happen quickly and believe that a depression would create the proper social conditions that would lead to a general breakdown of government on the federal, state and local level. This would provide the local notables to fill the power vacuum with their little private armies and methods of dealing with conflicts and managing resources.

    The idea behind limiting government is not to actually limit government but change government into something non-democratic and arbitrary thus giving maximum “liberty” to whoever has lands, weapons, money, influence and so on.

    This sort of change makes me wonder about what happened to those that clearly profit from central authorities–why would they countenance that sort of movement? It runs directly counter to their interests or does it?

    I’m still trying to figure this one out. The post August 2nd world we will find ourselves in will tell us a lot.

    Certainly this particular fight has done a lot to prove to me that the left (liberals, progressives, socialists) in America is officially dead. There’s no there there anymore. I think all major organizations and publications associated with the left in this country should disband so we can go back to the drawing boards. I’m fed up with the constant sermonizing and whining that has been going on since 2001. I’ve thought this for some time–but now I think anyone who thinks there’s anything left of progressive politics in this country is clearly hallucinating. What passes for a left is just an absurd debating society of immature children utterly ignorant of how politics actually works. Shouldn’t this be obvious by now?

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