Tag Archives: Debt Ceiling

Republican hostage taking ends with a whimper

So in the end, Republicans couldn’t agree on which hostage to take, so they gave up. The House passed a one-year suspension of the debt limit with no strings attached. Speaker John Boehner had to rely on Democrats to get the job done. Then he complained that it was President Obama’s fault because he wouldn’t negotiate over what was a routine procedural vote until Republicans seized upon the debt ceiling vote in 2011 as a way to undercut President Obama. He must be having a sad.

Politico has a good round down of the outcome.


Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Current Events, Politics


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Republican Hostage Taking Update

You really have to wonder if Republican congressmen have any clue how idiotic they look. They’ve been huddled up for the past several days trying to agree on something–anything!–to hold hostage in exchange for voting to increase the debt ceiling. On Monday they appeared to have narrowed their choices to either demanding approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, or demanding a repeal of the Affordable Care Act risk corridors, which they ignorantly label insurance industry “bail outs.”

Yesterday, they were still mired in indecision, and cracks were beginning to show. Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) complained, “We should bring up a clean debt ceiling, let the Democrats pass it and just move on. Our constituents are fed up with the political theater. If we’re not going to fight for something specific, we might as well let the Democrats own it.” Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) also referred to the charade as “theater,” noting, “It’s going to end up being clean anyway. I don’t see anything they can put on the table that I would support as some sort of trade-off.”

You see, this is all about political theater, trying to make Republicans look responsible… or something. Instead, they look more craven by the day, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning that the temporary suspension of the debt limit passed by Congress last year expires this Friday.

But have no fear! Another hostage was proposed today. Speaker John Boehner has floated the idea of demanding the restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the debt ceiling. According to reports, he hasn’t actually endorsed the idea himself, because that would require him to take a stand without knowing whether he’d have the support of his fellow Republicans. And if we’ve learned anything about John Boehner since the Republicans regained control of the house in 2010, it’s that he won’t take a stand on anything unless he already knows he’ll be on safe ground.

The quotes coming out of the capital today are classic. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio) told reporters, “Right now, Jesus himself couldn’t be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that. Whatever we move, there will be critics everywhere, but at the end of the day we still have to govern.” At least he acknowledges that they need to govern. I’m not sure the rest of the bunch understand that.

And Rep. Doug Lamborn ­(R-Colo.) chimed in, “I’d support [restoration of military cuts] in a heartbeat. We need to figure this thing out, and that’s a way to do it.” Yup, anything to “figure this thing out.” You get the idea that the specific hostage is secondary to the need to simply have a hostage.


Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Current Events, Politics, The Freak Show


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Republican hostage taking, February 2014 edition

According to Robert Costa, Republicans have narrowed down their choices for what to hold hostage in return for raising the debt limit. They’ll either demand a repeal of the Affordable Care Act risk corridors, or approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The more extreme Republicans favor the former, the not-as-extreme Republicans favor the latter. (We can’t call them moderate Republicans, because they’re no longer allowed in the party.) Meanwhile, the Freak Show Republicans tried to demand a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, but someone must have told them, “STFU before you make us all look like idiots.”

All this for a one-year extension of the debt ceiling, after which they’ll think of some other ransom to extract from President Obama in exchange for agreeing to pay for the bills they’ve already rung up. Because you see, the real point in all of this is to try to make President Obama look bad.

This game is getting tiresome. Americans have grown weary of it. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, who just weeks ago worked with Paul Ryan to hammer out a budget, pointed out the obvious:

“There is no reason to hold anything hostage to getting a debt ceiling raise. We just had a budget agreement, we had an appropriations bill, we determined where our spending is going to be, we now have a responsibility as the managers of this country to pay for that.”

As far as the ACA risk corridors go, Republicans have been demonizing them as insurance company “bailouts.” Either they don’t understand risk corridors, or they do and choose to call them bailouts anyway. I suspect the smarter Republicans do understand them and have opportunistically instructed their pals who don’t to call them “bailouts.” Anything to demonize ObamaCare, of course. Ironically, the Congressional Budget Office says that repealing the risk corridors would actually increase the national debt.

I’ll give the Republicans one thing: They sure are stubborn, even as they keep lowering their price. Wasn’t it just a few years ago they were demanding trillions of dollars of spending cuts? Now it’s a pipeline. Next year they’ll demand that the first lady cut a college intern from her staff. In any event, I’m sure this will end just as well for them as it always has.


Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Current Events, Politics, Uncategorized


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Around Town With Conservative Radio

I had some errands to run today, so I tuned the radio to one of the local conservative “hot talk” (oh, my!) radio stations.

First up, Rush Limbaugh. He was explaining to a caller that the website has been intentionally rendered inoperable by the nefarious Obama administration. Apparently he’s been talking this up for a couple of days now. See, the administration is so afraid to let people see the costs of premiums that they sabotaged the website in order to delay the day of reckoning for as long as possible. Dang, that Obama is one smart dude. But El Rushbo is even smarter for figuring this out himself. Good job, Rush.

Next up, Sean Hannity. It is Sean’s opinion today that defaulting on the debt is meaningless. This is a little different than what he has said earlier, but he was probably issued new talking points this morning. According to Hannity, the president will just pay the debt per the Fourteenth Amendment. Apparently, Leo Pusateri, the crazy uncle everyone avoids at Blogs For Victory, got the same talking points. Or more likely, Leo listens to Hannity. Of course, if the president did actually follow through and pay the debts, citing the Fourteenth–even though Congress hadn’t authorized raising the debt ceiling–then we’d really hear about how he’s an imperial president. You see, those clever conservatives have him really boxed in. No matter what President Obama does, he will be wrong!

Then Hannity explained that the government shutdown is meaningless as well, because it hasn’t affected him yet. Of course, Sean is one of the richest individuals in America. He could get along just fine for quite a while without government. Having lots of money does make life easier. Plus, he doesn’t work for the government, so he doesn’t have to worry about missing any paychecks. And he never served in the military, so he doesn’t have to worry about VA-related issues. Life is swell for Sean. That Hannity is even smarter than El Rushbo.

Later in the day, it was Mark Levin. He, of course, blames President Obama for the impasse that House Speaker John Boehner finds himself facing. According to Levin, Obama has shown no leadership and is kicking back, getting massages, being fanned with palm leaves by sycophants, and generally engaging in selfish, narcissistic behavior at the taxpayer’s expense while the country burns to the ground. Levin is a walking, talking conservative cliche machine!

But wait! On the same show, Levin said that Obama is also “seizing the power of the purse from Congress and taking away their ability to control funding in the government. In essence, this has been a coup by the Executive to limit the power of all other branches so that there are no checks and balances. Obama will set spending levels and veto any bills that fall short of his demands as he threatens to single handedly push the nation into a default.” That Obama! He is sooo smart! He gets this all done and lounges around, too! It must be really galling to people like Levin who have to work three hours a day for a living.


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