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The first thing you need to know about raising the debt limit is that it's actually not that hard to do: Congress simply needs to pass a one-sentence piece of legislation that—drum roll, please—raises the debt limit.
But even though raising the debt limit is easier than renaming a post office—and even though failing to raise the debt limit would force the U.S. government into default and create economic chaos—House Republicans still can't figure out how to put one foot ahead of the other and take care of the inevitable.
House Republicans on Wednesday acknowledged that their two leading options for dealing the federal debt-limit do not have sufficient support inside the GOP caucus, strengthening the hand of the people who argue for a clean debt limit bill. [...] The reports from Cantor and McCarthy were brief and direct: the votes aren't there, they told Boehner, and Republicans need to develop a new debt-limit plan.
The thing to remember here is that between Democrats and sane Republicans, the votes are there for a clean debt limit hike. Combine that with the fact that the votes aren't there for a ransom note, a clean debt limit bill is actually the only option for House Republicans, yet they still cannot bring themselves to acknowledge this obvious reality, at least according to this CNN report:
It’s unclear now what House GOP leaders will do.
There's nothing to discuss. The debt ceiling should be the most boring thing in the world. It needs to get raised, and the way you raise it is simply by raising it. This is not rocket science. There's no good reason that House GOP leadership hasn't taken care of business already.
I hope everyone who wrote those article talking about how House Speaker John Boehner was pleased to finally be back in control of his caucus, because if this is what control looks like, I'd hate to see mayhem.
A new break in the GOP's debt-ceiling strategy emerged at a private lunch on Wednesday, where House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) encouraged his allies to consider linking a restoration of recently cut military benefits with a one-year extension of the federal government's borrowing authority.
The thing that makes this particularly awesome is that whatever happens with the debt limit, these benefits will be restored, so Boehner is just scrambling to find something that he can claim that he "won" as a demand. As far as I'm concerned, I'd go ahead and "give" it to him, just so long as nobody deludes themselves into thinking that Republicans should get any sort of credit for it. (Edit: The military benefits COLA issue is tied up with the unemployment benefits extension, so if Boehner wants to attach military benefits to the debt limit bill, he should also deal with unemployment benefits at the same time.)
Another side helping of awesome here: If Boehner adds this as a "condition" he'd be demanding a spending increase in exchange for raising the debt limit. Still bizarrely dysfunctional, but yet how far we've come.
Originally posted to The Jed Report on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:45 AM PST.