drwex (drwex) wrote,

Not with a bang, but a whimper

This week, to my great surprise, the House passed a "clean" debt ceiling bill. This is the first time such a thing has happened since Republicans took control at the mid-term and it's directly contrary to the ongoing Republican rhetoric. I hope this schedules a sea change in how government will run but that remains to be seen.

I disagree with commenters who have painted this as a "surrender" by Boehnor. I think he's doing this to strengthen his own position and to reassert the control of traditional Republicans against the Tea Party. Several Senators, including the sitting Minority Leader, will likely face primary challenges from the right as a result of this but, as I said back in December, Boehnor has decided he has had enough. His party got thrashed both in the polls and in politics for their last showdown and Boehnor correctly referred to the debt-ceiling fight as a "monkey on the back" of the party.

I'd like to see the debt ceiling repealed; I think it's unconstitutional. But kicking it cleanly down the road until after the next elections will (at least in theory) give us a chance to sample the American electorate on how they want Congress to proceed. I think Congress needs to get its shit together, but that also does not excuse Obama's failure to submit timely and realistic (e.g. including the costs of the wars) budgets.

More than anything else I hope we're going to start seeing a return of Republicans to the negotiating table. Being the "Party of No" may play well in the media but it leads to lousy government. I tend not to agree with Republican policies and legislation. But I am a big believer in the idea of thesis/antithesis/synthesis. Even legislation I really like, such as the ACA, end up being much weaker because there wasn't a true negotiation over it. When the process is thesis/NONONONOFILIBUSTERAUGH you get crappier results.

And speaking of filibusters, one little-noticed element of this process was that the Senate originally proposed passing the bill on a simple majority vote. This would have allowed all the Republicans to vote against it and still have the bill proceed. Then Senator Wanker... err Cruz declared he was going to filibuster the bill, meaning that four Republicans would have to cross the line and vote for moving the bill forward. In the end, 12 of them did which is as close to a crushing defeat as you're likely to see Cruz suffer in the near future. It's the Senate equivalent of "shut up and sit down, boy." It will be interesting to see what direction Cruz takes next, and whether he really has Presidential ambitions.
Tags: politics
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