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House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor stand in front of a white flag of surrender
You know how House Republicans waved the white flag of surrender on the debt limit and agreed to suspend it until May 19, at which point it will be automatically raised to whatever level it happens to be on that date? Well, it turns out that extending the legal debt limit through May 19 will have the practical impact of giving the administration enough headroom to hold things together until August or so.

The explanation is the same as the explanation for why the debt limit deadline was able to be pushed back from Dec. 31, when we hit the statutory deadline, to mid-February if not March. Once we reach the statutory deadline, the treasury department is able to use extraordinary measures to avoid default for several more weeks. So once May 19, rolls round, we should be able to get through June and July, taking us into August.

So I guess all things considered this is actually good news. But the fact that this is good news is a pretty sad commentary on just how pathetic House Republicans are when it comes to playing their part in governing this country.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Just look at that expression on John Boehner's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p, mungley, Hohenzollern

    face :) Resolute. Confident. A blue-eyed boy wonder, the fins on a deep-blue Cadillac, a man of the people.

    A washed-up alcoholic has-been for our times.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:10:14 PM PST

  •  Hey Jed! (0+ / 0-)

    Remember what I said earlier today! This is twice in ONE DAY you have posted a picture of that slimy oozing pestilence known as Eric Can'tor. This is not good. This is sick-making. Hide his loathsome mug!

    Jon Husted is a dick.

    by anastasia p on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:14:24 PM PST

  •  If we go through August (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They aren't going to try to blow up the whole system then. Assuming they don't actually pass a budget (which they won't), they'll have to have a CR in place by the end of September for FY14. The debt limit fights are over IMO. There will be a few in the GOP that will try to rattle their sabers over it, but the House Republicans have essentially conceded that they will not hold the debt ceiling hostage this year.

  •  tomorrow... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday evening that a deal had been reached that would see a vote on the suspension of the statutory borrowing limit following votes on a number of Republican amendments seeking to change the bill.

    All of the GOP amendments--which would variously seek matching spending cuts for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling and a measure calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution--are expected to be defeated, after which the Senate is widely expected to approve the debt ceiling bill.

    yet another GOP freak show on the taxpayer's dime

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:21:53 PM PST

  •  You think this is good news, Jed? (0+ / 0-)
    Well, it turns out that extending the legal debt limit through May 19 will have the practical impact of giving the administration enough headroom to hold things together until August or so.
    That screws up the US economy even more, with the sword of Damocles hanging over it's head. Take note of the devastating effects the Fiscal Cliff has had so far -- then tell me about the joys of extending it for another two quarters:
    U.S. Economy Shrinks For The First Time Since The Recession Ended -- in the Fourth Quarter.

    The U.S. economy shrank unexpectedly late last year, a reminder of the biggest threat it faces in 2013: sharp government spending cuts and prolonged political budget fights.

    A plunge in defense spending helped push the economy into negative territory for the first time since mid-2009. The contraction in the October-December quarter came in at an annual rate of 0.1 percent, according to a government estimate released Wednesday.

    Oh, and that was just a tiny bread crumb of the bad fallout from the Fiscal Cliff -- which is merely postponed rather than resolved -- making markets in the US (and around the world) even more fragile.

    It's time to fasten your seatbelt.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:22:54 PM PST

  •  Teh Stupid, It Burns!!!!!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Odysseus, antirove

    There is absolutely no reason for any of this except Republicans have lost their freakin' minds. They've got their lizard brains frozen on the idea that government spending is the problem, so cut, cut, cut, cut, etc. etc. because spending is growing the deficit.

    And the worst are the tea party "morans" who WANT the sequester to happen, because they figure bad as the effects will be, it's the only way to keep the government from spending. (I heard one on NPR blathering the sequester must happen because IT'S THE LAW. Never mind that they're Congress, they could just make a new law. The only reason things are this bad is because it's what they have chosen - even as they try to dodge responsibility for the consequences.

    Never mind that the deficit is shrinking. Never mind that the quickest way to fix it is put people back to work. Never mind that the latest quarterly numbers show the economy shrunk - because the government cut way back on spending. Never mind the Keynes has been right all along, and they've been wrong.

    And then look at what Kevin Drum has turned up. Corporations have been doing nothing but pile up cash. They aren't investing in new products. They're not creating jobs. They're just piling up money - even as they keep slashing payrolls, wages, and benefits.

    And people wonder why the economy is out of whack? We are ruled by criminally stupid people and/or stupid criminals.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:43:09 PM PST

  •  Lets not forget that those (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, poli sigh

    "extraordinary measures" to prevent default after the ceiling is reached include things like the government not paying into the federal pension fund.  Anybody who thinks we can just continue to use extraordinary measures to delay default is not clear on the terms "extraordinary", and doesn't understand the very real damage we're doing to our future.

    •  I am pulling my retirement funds (0+ / 0-)

      out of the Thrift Savings Plan. Neither the Administration nor most of Congress cares a whit about federal employees, and if the sequester hits we will be facing massive furloughs with no pay.  I don't trust these guys to put the money back after the "extraordinary measures" so I want the cash--not that it would be enough to constitute even a modest bonus for a TARP-rescued executive.  Of course, if enough of us do this there's less for them to "borrow"  or delay actually funding and the debt ceiling will hit sooner.

  •  I dont understand something. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The people who vote for these republicans... Do they truly have no idea? Do they have no idea just what kind of damage is being done?

    Do they really think we are the cause? How? How could they possibly think that. How could they possibly ignore stuff like this?

    I mean... Okay... Yes I do know the answer to this. I know I know it. Ive had to explain what the debt ceiling is so many times...

    ...but my god how can they? It makes no sense. It drives me insane.

    The only Bug-type Pokemon that can learn the move Fly - Volcarona and Genesect - Are not Flying types.

    by kamrom on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:59:29 PM PST

  •  Not sure this is good news (0+ / 0-)

    With the way Congress works (or doesn't work), they should get the bill to the floor ASAP.  After May, they begin "summer recess"  I know it doesn't really start until August supposedly, but we all know Boner is a golfer, so you can bet he's on the links every day after Memorial Day.  He can't be bothered with a stupid debt limit.  That is so old school.  I don't know how these guys can claim they are working hard.  If I spent as much time at my job as they do at theirs, I'd be fired in no time.  It must be tough when you only work a few days a week.  And during the summer months, even that is hard to do.  So as I said, just because they punted the ball down the field doesn't mean we can relax.  Congress doesn't work hard enough to sit on their brains (laurels?) all day shooting the shit by the bourbon bottle.  Bureaucracy is a funny thing.  It has so much inertia that it keeps rolling no matter what, but if these rethugs have their way, they'll plan for a few boulders in the road to mess things up.  That much we know.

    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

    by dangoch on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:06:21 PM PST

  •  Irony alert! (0+ / 0-)

    you used republican and govern in the same sentence....

  •  These are the months when the (0+ / 0-)

    vast bulk of federal taxes get paid. Remember April 15th!

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:46:50 PM PST

  •  Questions from a Brit (0+ / 0-)

    If the real dealine is in August, what happens about the House and the Senate being in recess then?

    Can they be recalled? Are they not allowed to go into recess until this is resolved in some way? Or can the president act unilaterally to fix things because they're in recess?

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