Friday, July 29, 2011

Republicans to the Congress: Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment or The U. S. Defaults on its Debt Obligations: Take It or Leave It

What Are the Choices Again?

It is  Friday July 29 and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives looks like they have finally gotten their act together.  The situation with the Speaker of the House, John Boehner was that he had to get a bill passed in the worst way, and that is what he did.

Mr. Boehner had amended his proposed legislation to require that any subsequent increase in the raising the debt ceiling, which would have to take place in late 2011 or early 2012 would be dis-allowed unless the Congress, both the House and the Senate, passed an amendment to the Constitution requiring the U. S. to have a balanced budget.

Apparently adding this provision was enough to attract enough of the previous “no” voters to give the Speaker enough votes to pass his legislation. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
 is pursued by reporters while
 walking to a GOP caucus
 meeting on Thursday.

With the changes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said Friday the leadership now has enough votes to win passage of the Boehner bill.

Passage of the bill will likely have two results.

  1. The probability of passage of the bill in the Senate and signature by the President has gone from very, very small to zero.

  1. The House Republicans may not be able to provide the 30 to 40 Republican votes needed to pass a compromise debt ceiling increase in time to prevent a default.

That does not matter though.  The Republicans will have achieved their political goal, creating a default and being able to blame it on the Democrats and Mr. Obama.  Their goal for the econopmic well-being of the country, not a consideration.

The interesting thing though is that in winning this vote the Speaker may have lost.  At some point in time either before or after default he will need to pass a debt ceiling increase, mostly but not entirely with Democratic votes.  The "not entirely" thing is the key.  He will need between 30 and 40 Republicans to vote for a compromise plan, assuming that Democrats do not support it unanimously.  Having to get these votes will be difficult, particularly with his number two man, Mr. Cantor, standing behind him ready to stab him in the back and take over the Speakership.  Be careful Mr. Boehner, be very careful.

But meanwhile, congratulations GOP, the U. S. could never default without you.

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