At bottom, politics is always personal, so to understand why the current governing crisis isn’t likely to be resolved any time soon, we need to know a little more about House Speaker John Boehner. He’s the reason the government is still shut down. All he has to do is allow a vote on the House floor on the continuing resolution (a parliamentary term for a stop-gap spending measure, now entering the language) and it reopens. There’s no problem in the Senate this time, and there are enough House Republicans to join with House Democrats and pass a “clean C.R.”—one without various anti-Obamacare measures attached—despite opposition from the hardcore conservatives. So why doesn’t Boehner allow a simple up-or-down vote?That same one man also says he'll refuse a vote on the debt ceiling:
The United States moved closer to the possibility of the first-ever default on the government's debt Sunday as Speaker John Boehner adamantly ruled out a House vote on a straightforward bill to boost the borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama.He is not just saying that he and his party will refuse to pass straightforward bills, he is saying that he won't even allow anyone to vote. This crisis is on him. Completely. But of course he wants to deflect from his own personal responsibility for the crisis that is, and the even worse crisis that soon may be, so he does what comes easiest and most naturally to him. He lies:
"There are not votes in the House to pass a clean CR," Boehner said in an interview with ABC's "This Week."This isn't a small lie, the type of lie that is common in politics, it is a lie about what should be a simple matter but because of Boehner may become a catastrophe. That he should so blithely lie about something of such magnitude defies not only appropriate words to describe it, it defies comprehension. Because the truth is that there are enough House Republicans who would join Democrats in voting for a clean continuing resolution. On the record:
In the hours since the government shut down, House Republicans have slowly but steadily been coming forward to say they're ready to pass a bill to fund the government with no strings attached.The votes are there, but Boehner is preventing a vote from happening. He is lying about the votes not being there. He is preventing a vote from happening unless he gets his way. He is flouting the voters, who just re-elected President Obama, and he flouting the majority in his own chamber of Congress, by not allowing that majority to express its will. He is holding the government and the economy hostage. It is political extortion:
As of Sunday night, the number of those Republicans hit 22 (a soft 23, including Rep. Rodney Davis) -- surpassing the magic 17 votes needed to pass a clean funding bill if all 200 Democrats stick together and team up with them. Of course, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would have to be willing to put that bill on the floor in the first place. But if he did, the votes appear to be there for passage, at which point the bill would sail through the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama, ending the shutdown.
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Speaker John A. Boehner stood his ground on Sunday alongside the most conservative Republicans in Congress, insisting that the House would not vote to finance and reopen the government or raise the nation’s borrowing limit without concessions from President Obama on the health care law.Boehner is ready to tear this country down unless he gets his way. Like a petulant child. A deranged petulant child. This is on him. Completely. And let's be clear about what is at stake. The Government Accountability Office calculated the cost from 2011, when an increase in the debt limit was simply delayed.
“The fact is, this fight was going to come one way or the other,” Mr. Boehner said on the ABC News program “This Week,” adding, “We’re in the fight.”
With his hard line, Mr. Boehner reaffirmed that the stalemate with the White House over the six-day-old government shutdown was now compounded by an even more economically risky fight over raising the government’s borrowing limit by Oct. 17 to pay for bills already incurred.
GAO estimated that delays in raising the debt limit in 2011 led to an increase in Treasury’s borrowing costs of about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. However, this does not account for the multiyear effects on increased costs for Treasury securities that will remain outstanding after fiscal year 2011. Further, according to Treasury officials, the increased focus on debt limit-related operations as such delays occurred required more time and Treasury resources and diverted Treasury’s staff away from other important cash and debt management responsibilities.Imagine if some foreign power, or terrorist organization, was making threats that could cost the U.S Treasury $1.3 billion. And that's just the cost of a delay. An actual default would be devastating:
A default would upend money markets, destroy bond funds, slam the brakes on lending, cause interest rates to spiral, make our banks insolvent, and deal a blow to our foreign trading partners and creditors around the globe; all of which would throw the U.S. and the world into economic disarray.Imagine if some foreign power, or terrorist organization, was threatening such economic devastation. In 2011, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke described the impact:
“It would be extremely dangerous and likely recovery-ending event,” Bernanke later added.Imagine if some foreign power, or terrorist organization, was threatening such economic devastation.
“For a very long time afterwards, the U.S. would have to pay higher interest rates in the market and that would make our deficit problems even more intractable,” he said.
John Boehner owns these twin crises. He can end them just by allowing a vote. He doesn't need to vote to end these twin crises, he only needs to allow the elected congressional representatives of the American people to vote. But he refuses to allow the elected congressional representatives of the American people to vote. He lies about what will happens. He is committing political extortion. He is threatening economic terrorism.
President Obama and the Democrats must not give in to this political extortion. It would break our very system of elective governance and create the permanent chaos of extortion politics. The Democrats have no good answers. There are never good answers to any forms of extortion or terrorism. But that is where we are. John Boehner is dishonest, dangerous, and deranged. He must not be in any way accommodated or appeased. His brand of politics must be destroyed or else he will destroy this nation.