As many critics have pointed out, House Republicans are in disarray over the debt ceiling. Speaker Boehner could not rally enough support last night for his version of the Grand Compromise to pass without Democratic votes....so he postponed the vote at 10:30 PM.
Republicans will take another stab at it today....but honestly....with 4 days left until Doomsday, I am not optimistic that a deal can be reached.
If I were President Obama, I would issue an executive order Monday morning to raise the debt ceiling, basing that decision on the 14th amendment....
14th Amendment, Section 4...
"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned...."
The debt that the U.S. has already incurred at the behest of members of both political parties, according to the Framers, "shall not be questioned." That's exactly what Republican Congressional members have been doing....questioning whether or not to continue paying the "lawful" national debt. The more exuberant GOP constituents from the so-called Tea Party have been telegraphing for a good long while that not only should paying the national debt be "questioned"....but that the nation will be better off if we default on that debt.
Republicans, from House member Michele Bachmann, to Senator Jim DeMint, have been encouraging their Tea Party constituents by informing them they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling. Not only are these Republican leaders acting recklessly, willing to threaten our national economy during a jobless recovery, but they also are acting in violation of the clear dictates of the 14th amendment.
Let's be clear....raising the debt ceiling is for the purpose of paying for money ALREADY borrowed. Raising the debt ceiling is not about ADDING new spending. If the debt ceiling is raised, President Obama and the Congress are not agreeing to spend MORE money. Instead, if the debt ceiling is raised, the Congress and the President are simply agreeing to continue to pay for national debt ALREADY INCURRED.
Brushing aside the many grand acts of the current theatrical play for a moment......muddied up as they are with phony "debates" about spending and taxes and all the rest of it....Congressional Republicans are simply at odds with what appears to be a clear constitutional order...."the validity of the public debt...shall not be questioned."
By attaching ridiculous multiple trillions in spending cut demands to the straightforward constitutional order to not question the debt.....congressional members are, in fact, "questioning the validity" of that debt.
It bears repeating....the "debt" in the raising-the-debt-ceiling discussion is debt which congressional members and presidents of both parties have made "valid" through past democratic and constitutional votes and presidential signatures.
That being said, President Obama and congressional Democrats bear some of the responsibility for the clusterf*ck we're now witnessing. Instead of simply demanding, repeatedly, that the debt ceiling be raised "cleanly", as the Constitution dictates....Obama has embraced this dispute as a good political opportunity to show that he can out-deficit-hawk the phony Republican deficit hawks, even putting Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table. To his shame, Obama, himself, is questioning the validity of the national debt by confusing and complicating the issue at hand. Even worse, Obama is doing all of it to please independent and centrist, moderate voters...voters he will need to get re-elected next November. Obama may seem like the "adult in the room" in comparison....but in fact, he is exploiting the situation for political gain...and in so doing, he, just like congressional Republicans, is "questoning the validity of the debt."
Authentic presidential leadership would have not stopped using the "bully pulpit" to rally Americans in support of a "clean" debt ceiling bill. Authentic, genuine presidential leadership....especially after the last two GOP hostage-taking situations....would have called out those conservatives who were so eager to spit on the clear constitutional directive to not "question" the "validity" of the national debt. he should have named names....bringing humiliation down on the unconstitutional ambitions of the extreme right.
But he didn't. And so the clock ticks down towards what actually could be economic doomsday.
Most likely, some cobbled together extension will be forged at the very last minute....perhaps Monday night. Republicans, who do not care one whit about deficits and debt, and proved it when they voted to DOUBLE the debt during Bush, the Younger's reign....may go for a short extension at the last minute. Why? Because then they can play their silly little-boy political games over and over until, they hope, Obama is knocked out of the White House next November. Because Republicans really have no policies other than tax cuts for the already-wealthy.....every issue, large or small, is mined for it's theatrical political value. The raising-the-debt-ceiling issue is no exception.
An executive order demanding that the Treasury continues to pay America's debts is in order. It would be what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind when they penned the 14th amendment. Any Republican who objects....any Village media pimp who wags his/her head.... continuing to question the "validity" of the national debt should be called out for their defiance of the Constitution.
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