It seems that some sectors of Big Business seek to reign in Republican brinksmanship and extortion over the debt ceiling. Greg Sargent at WaPo (The Plum Line) is reporting that the Business Rountable, a group of business executives at some major corporations (some of whom met with President Obama yesterday) will support a law that would end all debt ceiling brinksmanship by giving effective control of the debt ceiling increases to the President:
Obama — who is refusing to negotiate over the debt ceiling again — supports a measure called the “McConnell provision,” a proposal pushed by Mitch McConnell last year to try to defuse the crisis. Under the provision, the president can request a debt limit hike, after which Congress can vote to deny the request by disapproving of it. The president can then veto that request, and unless Congress overrides that veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses, it is honored. The provision transfers most control over the debt ceiling to the President and makes it far harder for the opposing party in Congress to block hikes — meaning the constant threat of default, and the ability to engage in brinksmanship around it, are effectively removed.Politico's Ben White has a similar report:
The McConnell provision was passed as a temporarily measure as part of last year’s debt ceiling compromise but would need to be extended now. The White House has proposed extending it; if that happens, House Republicans would not be able to stage a meaningful standoff next year.
I’m told reliably that the Business Roundtable will support the McConnell provision if it’s proposed again in Congress.
BUSINESS WANTS PERMANENT DEBT LIMIT HIKE — Per a plugged-in exec: “Have been picking up a lot of support amongst business execs for the idea of extending last year's McConnell patch on debt limit. It gives members of Congress an opportunity to vote against debt limit increases without harming full faith and credit of the U.S. After last summer's debacle around debt limit debate and subsequent downgrade, a lot of CEOs would prefer a symbolic vote to the brinksmanship that both parties have played with debt limit votes.”It is unknown whether Big Business can control the Frankenstein it created (The Tea Party Republicans who seem to dominate the Republican majority in the House), but it is a good sign that Big Business opposes destruction of our economy as a negotiating tool (because merely negotiating over it harms the economy and their profits).
I still think the Republicans will not give up this tool of extortion willingly. My hope is that the President refuses to negotiate with these economic terrorists and either uses the 14th Amendment option or lets the default happen. The possibility that the debt ceiling will become a permanent extortion lever on policy is too destablizing to our democracy and our economy that it is better to let them shoot the hostage so the blowback prevents them from ever using it again.
As more and more of Big Business and the 1% realize this, the Koch Brothers and Boehner will be on their own. The pressure on them will be intense not to go down this road.
The key to ending these extortion tactics is for the President to stick to his announced policy of refusing to negotiate so long as the debt ceiling is held hostage.