On Friday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew stated that the debt ceiling will need to be raised no later than February 27th. After that date, he cannot in full confidence state that the U.S. will be able to pay on all of its obligations and will only be able to rely on incoming revenues. Essentially, he feels that the Treasury will only have $50 billion on hand at any given time, far less than is needed to meet the country’s expenditures.
While this was needed information, it also appeared to be done to put the onus on the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling sooner rather than later. The country now has less than 3 weeks before it will be unable to pay its bills on time. Democrats have hung tough across the board and let Republicans know that they will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. Republicans need to realize that they will not get any little ‘treats’ for doing their job.
Of course, this isn’t going to stop Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) from trying to get House Republicans to rally around a bill that will get some kind of concession while at the same time carrying the necessary 218 votes to pass the House. However, it is pointless on a couple of different levels. For starters, there are a number of Tea Party extremists in the House that do not want to raise the debt ceiling under just about any measure other than getting equal or greater spending cuts in return.
Therefore, if Boehner wants to get something passed purely by Republican votes, he has to court the Tea Party, and that will lead to something that will get laughed out of the Senate and just waste everyone’s time. Even if Boehner can get the Tea Party in line and get most of them to agree on some small concession like changes to the ACA, it still won’t pass the Senate or get past the President’s desk. Democrats are creating a united front against allowing Republicans to gain anything from this. The feeling is that it is akin to negotiating with terrorists.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the President’s position on Friday regarding the debt ceiling.
“Our position has not changed: President Obama will not pay ransom in exchange for Congress doing its job.”
It does seem that there are more and more House Republicans who realize that they just have to come to grips with a clean bill being passed, that they aren’t going to get anything extra for doing their job. Basically, they know that the President won’t bend to their demands and if for any reason the full faith and credit of the United States is damaged, they will get full blame for it. Of course, even some that acknowledge this fact of life don’t want to take any real responsibility.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) stated that a clean bill should just be presented by Boehner and that Democrats be allowed to carry it through. On the other hand, Labrador said he wouldn’t vote for it, instead stating the Democrats can own it. Which sure seems fine with Democrats, I would think. But it also shows just how scared of their shrinking, extremist, ultra-conservative wingnut base many Republicans are regarding this issue. There is a certain segment of the population that feel like a scorched earth policy is the way to go.
Basically, you have this extremist segment of the House that represent areas in this country that lack a true, fundamental understanding about how government, economics and fiscal policy work. They think that we can just stop spending on everything today and it will all work itself out. They believe that we can just reduce government down to nothing and this country will operate even better. Somehow, we can just stop collecting taxes or paying our obligations and the free market will just work it out.
Of course, this same sub-section of the population largely relies on government provided ‘handouts’ like Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Those that don’t will most likely be relying and waiting on tax refunds that should be handed out over the next few weeks. How will they feel if they don’t receive their Social Security checks? Will they be happy with their Tea Party elected officials if their tax refunds are severely delayed due to the Treasury being out of money?
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).