House Debt Limit Bill Could Actually Be Worse

The debt limit bill from the House Republicans is so unbelievably extreme that it basically requires Obama to give up his entire agenda and repeal everything he’s passed up to this point, but it could actually be worse. Brian Beutler reports that about 40 Republicans in the House don’t think it goes far enough and want to add in things like repealing Medicare.

Late Thursday afternoon, House GOP leaders acknowledged that their debt limit bill, which they haven’t even released yet, lacks the votes to pass. “We still have some challenges,” said Rep. Tom Cole R-Okla, a deputy whip and a John Boehner ally, according to The Hill. “We’ve got an awful lot of support, but clearly at this point we don’t have a final product that’s attracting the number that we need. Hopefully that’ll change, and I think it could.”

The House proposal (at least as originally conceived) is a grab bag of GOP goodies, most of which were bullet points in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign platform. But it lacks the most controversial elements of the GOP agenda — Medicare privatization, Medicaid devolution — and as such doesn’t cut enough spending for some of the most hardline conservatives in the House Republican conference. It also doesn’t include any abortion restrictions.

As such, Boehner and his leadership team can’t whip up 217 Republicans (the current threshold for passage) to back it, and since zero Democrats will support their crazy plan, it’s dead. At least as currently written.

Yeah, that’s what is missing from the bill — more abortion restrictions. And a demand that the Democratic party disband itself and move to Antarctica.

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  • Mr Ed

    I wonder, should the Senate pass a CR or debt ceiling bill with the GOP threats proposals but add their own. The most restrictive gun control proposal, energy policy, social policy and separation of church and state policy declaring the government secular and removing “god” from any document or currency.

    Democrats could then look at the cameras and say but we passed your bill

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Antarctica is starting to sound pretty good.

  • This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • MyPetSlug

    Maybe I’m feeling pessimistic, but I was wondering this morning, why would Republicans bother ever re-funding the government. First, anyone that votes for any CR will be branded a traitor and a squish. And I’m wondering, would they really suffer any consequences from the shutdown? As many have said before, the districts are so gerrymandered that most are sure to win re-election as long as they aren’t primaries from the right. So, what’s their incentive to ever vote for funding unless they get something big out of it where they can claim victory? IOWs, what does “loosing” look like for the Republicans in this scenario. And if we haven’t reached the point where governance has become impossible because one side would rather take hostages than share power, how far off are we really?

    The debt limit is a slightly different animal. I can imagine the base is against raising it because they’ve been falsely told that it means the government can spend more money instead of what it really is which is to borrow money to pay for things we’ve already bought. But to default on our debt obligations would have huge financial implication that I’m sure a lot of their big money donors would be against. So, they would be under some pressure that their money would dry up.

  • barry21

    @Mr. Ed,

    I’d support your idea if you could guarantee that it would lead to an actual shooting war between the 2 parties in both houses of Congress.

  • Artor

    The Mountains of Madness are sounding more sane every day, and the Old Ones that slumber there would be warm and friendly company, compared to Republicans & Teabaggers.

  • An ad on this page (at least for me) says “Tell the GOP: Stop playing politics and pass a budget” by signing a petition. Right, that’ll help – Eric Cantor has me on speed-dial so he can know my opinion at all times.

    But why do I bother when Modus has already won the thread …

  • barry21


  • Reginald Selkirk

    How long would this GOP debt limit be good for? The current funding shutdown is over a 45 day extension, maining they could have been back with another list of demands in November.

    Any realistic debt limit rise should last at least 3 years, until the next president is in office.

  • cry4turtles

    Modus always wins the thread! (IMHO)

  • tsig

    Let’s apply “no work, no pay” to congress.

  • erichoug

    For some strange reason the phrase “Elections have consequences.” keeps running through my mind.

  • A debt ceiling agreement that does NOT include Obama HUSSEIN Obama’s resignation and admission of Hillary’s involvement (planning) in Benghazi is not a serious proposal. They are playing games.

  • sqlrob

    Any realistic debt limit rise should last at least 3 years, until the next president is in office

    There shouldn’t even be one. This fight should go into the budget, where it’s determined how much more debt we’ll be going in. This is trying to cash into the same thing twice for political points.

  • caseloweraz

    OT: Adding insult to injury.

    Lost in the hubbub surrounding yesterday’s votes on the budget was roll call vote 503, about the “Congressional Award Program Reauthorization Act of 2013.” It passed on a bipartisan vote, 387 to 35, (9 not voting). But my point is that all the “nay” votes were Republicans; they included Paul Broun, Steve King, Ted Poe, and Dana Rohrabacher.

    The award’s own Web site describes it this way:

    “The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. The program is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds. Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Earning the Award is a fun and interesting way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you’d like to try for the first time. You move at your own pace – on your own or with your friends. This is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, you are honored for achieving your own challenging goals.”

    There is no mention of funds; the awards consist only of medals and certificates. What can I say about someone so mean-spirited as to vote against it? I’d get thrown off the blog.

  • raven

    Brian Beutler reports that about 40 Republicans in the House don’t think it goes far enough and want to add in things like repealing Medicare.

    I think that is a great idea. Repeal Medicare!!!. Repeal Medicare!!!. Repeal Medicare!!!.

    Then repeal Social Security.

    Abolish women’s right to vote.

    Declare war on Vietnam and finish the Vietnam war as winners rather than losers.

    Then apologize to the South for winning the Civil War and move the capital to Richmond Virginia

    Really, given how popular Medicare is, they are just shooting themselves in the foot. Or the USA and themselves in the feet. (I’m assuming most Americans don’t want to see the USA collapse into a Banana Republic, but that isn’t a well proven theory.)

  • thascius

    @1-While that sounds great, the unfortunate reality in the Senate is that 41 Senators can block anything, so Harry Reid has to make sure at least 5 not-completely-crazy Republicans are willing to let the bill pass, so a clean CR or debt ceiling bill is probably the best we can get.

  • raven

    After spending a long night in front of a computer screen, without even a bottle of wine to work on, some decisions were made.

    1. What’s the worst thing that could happen? The US gets thrown back into a recession. Government spending is 20% of our GDP and our economy is very fragile and not healthy.

    Plus, if the US defaults on its obligations via not raising the dept ceiling, interests rates skyrocket as our credit rating falls. The Chinese and Japanese own trillions of US treasury bonds and they aren’t going to be happy about that.

    2. And the fault is a majority of 315 million lemmings, the voters. You can’t stop over half of 315 million lemmings from running over a cliff.

    We are already onto the next step. Surviving the next Tea Party/GOP Catastrophe. We survived the Bush Catastrophe, albeit with some serious damage. As to what sort of lifeboats and where to row them, so far I can’t think of much. If this really happens, the stock markets will crash again so getting out of stocks or watching the IRA’s/401(K) plans turn into Zombies again will happen.

  • Orakio

    @4 MyPetSlug

    A Republican Congress critter will start to vote for a ‘clean’ continuing resolution the moment that the very kind older gentlemen who funded his campaign tell him that they’re losing money because of the government shut down, and that they’re very disappointed with what they’re paying for.

  • tmscott

    There was a very good Op-Ed piece in the NYT yesterday that hypothesized the president ignoring the debt ceiling and continuing to operate as usual; in effect, calling the GOP’s bluff. Sure, he would probably suffer the drama of impeachment by the House, but that’s as far as it would go, and it would render the Teabaggers impotent.

  • eric

    The Mountains of Madness are sounding more sane every day, and the Old Ones that slumber there would be warm and friendly company, compared to Republicans & Teabaggers.

    It’s a choice between “we promise you will be eaten last” and “we promise you will be funded last.”

  • eric

    And I’m wondering, would they really suffer any consequences from the shutdown?

    1. If their district includes federal work facilities that are ‘non essenitial,’ they will feel that pinch immediately; constiuents will be out of a job.

    2. If their district includes federal contractors that serve ‘non essential’ federal agencies, they will feel that pinch in a couple of weeks, as those contractors will get no new work. As current contracts end, they slowly lose work (many contract beginnings/endings are related to the fiscal year).

    3. If their state or local government operates (in part) on federal grants, they will feel that pinch over the next month or two. I’m just guessing, but I expect most districts (even conservative ones) operate in part on Department of Education and Department of Transportation funding for their schools and roads.

    Those are just direct impacts that I can think of. There are probably more direct and indirect impacts I haven’t thought of.

    As long as their constiutents are happy, its hard for a sitting congresscritter to be unseated. But if the shutdown forces their constiutents to lose money and jobs, pretty soon they have to worry about some monkey in a suit being able to unseat them in a primary challenge. A 10% approval rating now means a bigger chance of losing in 2014.

  • busterggi

    Remember when during the Bush years the Rethugs demanded straight up or down votes on everything? They’d never have the balls to do so on this.

  • exdrone

    These Teabaggers remind me of children who, growing up in a dysfunctional family, get so used to living from crisis to crisis that they purposely disrupt their lives after they leave home in order to remain on the edge. Maybe crisis-dominated politics isn’t so much a strategy as a lifestyle choice.

  • arthurhunt

    @17 – it’s my understanding of how Reid can strip the House’s defunding amendments that this requires just a simple majority. If the Republicans want to avoid this, they have to filibuster to prevent consideration of the bill (or something like this) – in other words, they have to oppose the House’s bill from the get-go.

    What I wonder is why Reid does not strip the Defund the ACA language and attach the Senate Immigration bill instead. I think it would be amusing to watch House Republicans gnash their teeth as they vote to keep the government closed AND disenfranchise a fast-growing segment of the voting public.

  • arthurhunt

    What I wonder is why Reid does not strip the Defund the ACA language and attach the Senate Immigration bill instead.

    That did not come out quite right. Let’s try…

    What I wonder is why Reid does not strip the Defund the ACA language, and at the same time attach the Senate Immigration Bill.