According to this statement from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the GOP is planning to release their debt-ceiling hostage but they will also reserve the right to take another in three months.
We must pay our bills and responsibly budget for our future. Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget.
I can’t discern what their endgame is because from my perspective this is a clear signal that they aren’t willing to actually default on our national debt.
Several weeks ago skeptical parties on the left were criticizing the president for supposedly giving up his leverage to win the battle over taxes while ignoring the debt ceiling, but it seems clear now that all he really had to do was go on national TV and explain to the American public — and some sitting congresscritters — what the debt ceiling really is. And this line from Eric Cantor that we “must pay our bills” is the giveaway.
From the president’s remarks on the debt ceiling this week
This is a matter of congress authorizes spending. They order me to spend. They tell me you need to fund our defense department at such an such a level. You need to send out social security checks. You need to make sure that you’re paying to care for our veterans. They lay all this out for me, because they have the spending power. And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills. Separately, they also have to authorize a raising of the debt ceiling in order to make sure those bills are paid.
So what congress can’t do is tell me to spend X and then say we’re not going to give you the authority to go ahead and pay the bills.
It’s not as easy to tell your constituents that you don’t want to pay our bills as it is to claim that you’re blocking the authorization of new spending.
To fully realize how big of a turnaround this is, recall the GOP’s weekly address delivered by Senator Orrin Hatch on December 1st wherein he accused the president of asking for “unlimited unchecked authority to borrow from the Chinese.”
Are the Republicans going to pass a three month extension of “unlimited unchecked authority to borrow from the Chinese,” or was that a bunch of bullroar?