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Super committee co-chair Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) speaks to reporters as she arrives for a meeting in the Capitol in Washington November 18, 2011. The special congressional committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over
Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray
The debt limit cycle—the U.S. approaches the debt limit, Republicans demand outrageous concessions for what had always pre-Obama been the entirely routine act of raising it, Democrats refuse to negotiate with hostage takers—has begun again. All the parts are there. Republicans responded predictably to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew saying that Congress had to act by late February:
"The two parameters are that we cannot default, and a clean debt-ceiling increase cannot pass the House," said Illinois Rep. Pete Roskam, a member of the House GOP leadership.
And, happily, Democrats are holding firm:
“We will not negotiate over whether or not the United States of America should pay its bills,” [Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty] Murray writes in the letter, provided in advance to POLITICO. “And once again, before they get any further down this damaging path, we call on our Republican colleagues to not play politics with our economic recovery.” [...]

“As we have repeatedly shown, attempts to avoid compromise by putting the full faith and credit of the United States on the line will not succeed,” Murray writes. “The only way we can get anything done in a divided government is through compromise, not threats or hostage-taking.”

Republicans have backed down before, and last fall's government shutdown was disastrous enough for them that it seems likely they'll once again vote to raise the debt limit in time to avert economic disaster. But this Republican Party is extremist enough that you always have to worry right up to the final vote. As Jed Lewison wrote earlier this week, it's on House Speaker John Boehner to reject pressure from the lunatics in his caucus and settle this thing sooner rather than later.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 08:29 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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