While Boehner is almost sure to stave off a government shutdown before the September 30 deadline, the looming debt ceiling—which we’re estimated to reach sometime in mid-December—presents a much larger problem. But earlier this morning, Boehner told reporters that he’s not ruling out a vote to raise the country’s borrowing limit. And considering Boehner’s replacement will likely be far more compliant to the party’s whims, this could be the best chance we’ve got.
It's not every day you get an email from a former director of the U.S. Mint (unless you're married to one, probably) — but it's also not every day that you write about the very real possibility that the U.S. Treasury might mint a platinum coin worth one trillion dollars. Either way, it was an excellent surprise to hear from Philip Diehl, the former Mint director and Treasury chief of staff who drafted Sec. 5112 of title 31, United States Code with Rep. Mike Castle — in other words, the guy who wrote the "trillion-dollar coin" law. His take? Not only does the law clearly allow for the coin to be minted, it also would have "no negative macroeconomic effects."
Today, New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that President Obama should be "absolutely" prepared to mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin and use it to pay the government's bills. It wasn't a typo: a lot of people are discussing the trillion-dollar coin as a way to avoid a fight over the debt ceiling. But what is it? And why? And whose face will be on it? Here's our guide.
Here's a brief guide to congressional debt politics in 2011: In the debt ceiling deal, $1 trillion in spending cuts (or caps on future spending, mostly) was made, while punting at least $1.2 trillion in additional savings to be determined by a supercommittee, later. The supercommitee, now, is considering this brave solution as its deadline nears: Making trillions in additional spending cuts, while punting decisions on additional tax revenue to be determined by congressional finance committees, later.
The unprecedented dumb carnival stunts that were struck as part of the deal to allow the government to issue debt for spending measures it's already passed popped up again earlier this week, as the House passed a meaningless "resolution of disapproval" for the latest $500 billion in borrowing authority. But some Republican members of Congress were so used to voting "no" on anything tangentially related to the debt ceiling that they accidentally voted against the resolution of disapproval, like clowns.
Forget her husband's ex-gay therapy clinics, her cutesy gaffes about John Wayne Gacy, and all the other nutty little stories about Michele Bachmann. You only need one reason to determine that Michele Bachmann's campaign is a sick joke: The way she brags about how she would never raise the debt ceiling, and her claim that S&P only downgraded U.S. debt because the debt ceiling was eventually raised.
So Michele Bachmann kept her campaign promise about not voting to raise the debt ceiling. She voted against everything, however Tea Partyish — including Cut, Cap and Balance — that would have raised it one farthing's worth. And now, in a spectacularly brazen dismemberment of factual truth, she's blaming S&P's decision to downgrade U.S. debt on the fact that the debt ceiling was raised at all.
Congressional Republicans have become quite talented at taking legislative "hostages" at crucial junctures, making extreme demands, unifying behind them, and ultimately rolling Democrats into embracing horrible pieces of legislation. Maybe it's time for Democrats to come up with a plan for this sort of thing. So are they? Sorta.
On tonight's Daily Show, Jon Stewart briefly celebrated the fact that, despite the fight it took to get there, Congress finally reached a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling. But then Stewart noted just how little the deal will actually reduce the deficit, at which point he gave the "spoiled children" in Congress a piece of his mind.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the evil procedural genius who somehow always manages to be the most powerful person in Washington from his lowly perch as Senate minority leader, doesn't take offense when people call him and his party "hostage-takers." He rather fancies the title! But he does want to clear up the details of how and why he loves taking legislative hostages.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House of Representatives on Monday, receiving a standing ovation and enthusiastically greeting her colleagues after casting her vote (her first since being shot in January) for the debt ceiling bill, which passed 269-161.
Some TV camera people caught Speaker John Boehner fleeing to his escape elevator in Capitol Hill last night, after everyone finally reached a debt ceiling deal that no one understands but should pass Congress today anyway. Think he wasn't tired? This guy, Boehner, not tired? Get out of here. Just listen to this noise he makes. A pure sigh of relief, or the desperate wail of an aging farter? You decide, America. For now it is merely John Boehner's "sound."