Skip to main content

House passes debt limit

The House of Representatives has raised the debt limit on a vote of 221-201, avoiding the economic catastrophe that would have resulted if the United States had been forced to default on its debt. All but two Democrats voted for the measure. They were joined by 199 Republicans who favored default.

The measure had no strings attached, marking the death of the Boehner Rule, which House Speaker John Boehner had defined as the idea that Congress should not raise the debt limit without cutting spending by the same amount. Ironically, Boehner himself voted for the clean debt bill, proving that he was bluffing all along, but the vast majority of his caucus voted against raising the debt ceiling—a position that would have forced default.

Politically, the lesson here is clear: Republican debt limit extortion is dead and as Greg Sargent argues, it's dead because President Obama and Democrats took a principled position in favor a clean increase and stuck to it in unwavering fashion. Yes, they screwed up in 2011 when debt limit negotiations led to sequestration, but to their credit, the president and congressional Democrats learned from their mistake and refused to repeat it.

The net result isn't just a political win for for our side of the aisle, it's a win for the country, which will be spared the absurd fiscal brinksmanship forced on us by Republicans. There's no question that it's pathetic that this is something to be happy about (back when the president was named George Bush, there were 19 clean debt limit hikes), but given how Republicans have attempted to wield power, it is nonetheless worth celebrating—not just because we avoided disaster this time, but because Democrats held their ground on something important and because Republicans have finally publicly acknowledged that the debt limit is not a source of leverage.

There's also the added bonus of being able to watch another round of civil war erupt within the GOP, because not all Republicans are thrilled with the outcome. Various tea party groups are already attacking Boehner for allowing a clean debt limit to come up for a vote. The Senate Conservatives Fund is even calling for Boehner to be replaced (like Ted Cruz, they don't appear to know the difference between the House and Senate). But whatever happens with Boehner, the Boehner Rule is dead, killed by its namesake—just like he killed the Hastert Rule before it.

4:05 PM PT: Important detail: The debt limit is lifted through March of 2015. Instead of choosing a specific amount, the House bill suspends it through March of 2015, at which point it will be readjusted to the then-current level.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site