Republicans go along with raising debt limit

House Republicans decided to adopt a “no drama” policy in regards to raising the debt ceiling:

A measure to suspend the nation’s legal limit on borrowing for nearly four months cleared a key vote in the House Wednesday, as Republicans broadly endorsed a new tactic that would temporarily remove the threat of a potentially calamitous government default from their ongoing fight with Democrats over government spending.

The measure, which would set aside the legal debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow as needed to meet spending obligations through May 18, was adopted on a 285 to 144 vote.

Just before the vote, Democratic leaders in the Senate said they would accept the House measure without changes and a Senate vote is expected as soon as next week. And the White House, too, has said President Obama will not stand in the way of the bill.

As a result, House passage apparently eliminates the possibility of an economy-rattling crisis next month, when the Treasury Department has said it will exhaust extraordinary measures put in place to extend its ability to borrow since the government hit its $16.4 trillion limit on Dec. 31.

via House votes to suspend debt limit – The Washington Post.

I suspect the economy–at least the stock market–will react in relief that there is not going to be another round of doomsday brinkmanship.  But should Republicans have staged another showdown, trying to trade a debt ceiling increase for budget cuts?  Or would that make Republicans even more despised than they are already, so that letting the Democrats govern–potentially to their doom–a better strategy?

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  • MarkB

    And what in recent political events would lead anyone to think that the Republicans would stand up and fight for reductions in spending?

  • The only reason I can say they did this is to come back later on and point a finger at the President and say “Hey, he got everything he wanted. Blame him if nothing goes right.”

    Not the smartest idea, but one that might have political traction in the next Congressional election period.

  • fjsteve

    As I type this post, I’m on the phone with American Express trying to get a higher credit line. They told me my debt to credit ratio is too high but I’m trying to get them to understand this is just an artificially imposed barrier and has no impact on my ability to repay by debts, and that if they raise my credit line, my debt to credit ratio will look much better. I don’t get the impression they believe me but I’ll keep you all posted.

  • I’m all for letting the market decide what our debt limit actually is.
    A point will come when nobody will lend us any more money, deeming it too risky.
    That will be our debt limit. No need to impose one artificially.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually Mike, you are on to something. Because the market will generally look at percentages, not actual numbers.

    The Greeks can’t get loans.

  • tODD

    I don’t get the debt “ceiling”. It clearly doesn’t work. I don’t believe it ever did. All it does is require Congress to do some busy work every time they want to avoid it. What I look forward to is the day when the debt is increasing so rapidly that Congress will do nothing all day but try to pass the next debt-ceiling increase in time. Of course, this will keep them so busy they will not be able to pass any new laws spending vast amounts. Which will mean that, after some time, they won’t have to pass ceiling increases so rapidly. Ah, but as soon as they have some free time, they’ll go back to spending more money. And, eventually, they’ll find a balance between spending time passing spending increases and spending time passing debt-ceiling increases.

  • tODD

    J. Dean said (@2):

    Not the smartest idea, but one that might have political traction in the next Congressional election period.

    Yes, because nothing says “vote for me” like failing to fight for your own principles. “I know you voted for me because I said what you wanted to hear about the national debt, and then I didn’t actually follow through on that, but the trouble we’re in now is all the Other Guy’s fault, so vote for me again, and this time, I promise, I’ll follow through. Just give me one more chance, I swear I won’t do you wrong … again.”

  • DonS

    Actually, on this occasion I think it’s the right strategy. The Democratic senate hasn’t bothered to pass a budget since 2009, mostly because they wanted to lock in the higher stimulus spending levels indefinitely without having to take the political heat for doing so, through a series of “temporary” continuing resolutions. Put the onus on them to pass a budget, and put their spendthrift ways on record and to a vote.

    It’s fighting on better ground than would otherwise be the case, with an incessantly whining media complaining that everyone will die if the government shuts down for failing to borrow more money.

  • We’re screwd.

  • Abby