Why Yes, The House Is Playing Games With The Debt Ceiling Vote
October 20, 2015

Wasn't that Paul Ryan I heard about yesterday swearing he wouldn't bow down and kiss the feet of the hostage-taking Freedom Caucus? I'd swear it was. Then why on earth is he not only kissing their feet, but licking them with this travesty of a debt ceiling bill?

The bill -- dubbed the “Default Prevention Act” -- would direct the Treasury Department, in the event of a debt ceiling breach, to continue to borrow in order to keep paying Social Security, as well the principal and interest on public debt. But the government would not be able to borrow for any of its other functions until the debt ceiling was raised.

The bill is moving forward even though Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is reportedlysignaling privately that he will advance a clean debt ceiling hike with the help of Democratic votes before he leaves office, thereby avoiding a debt default.The bill was advanced out of the House Ways and Means Committee by a party-line vote in September, where Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) claimed the bill “takes default off the table,” according to the Washington Post. Democrats meanwhile have slammed it as a cop-out, with the committee’s ranking member Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) accusing Republicans of “trying to squirm out of it by some sort of technical definition of default."

This doesn't work. We don't get to pick and choose the default mechanisms. We either pay, or we default, and Ryan knows that as well as I do.

T

he bill will come to a vote in the House while the House GOP is in chaos over Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) decision to step down. GOP sources had signaled privately that leadership is considering moving a “clean” debt ceiling vote, meaning without any riders or concession-seeking. Such a maneuver is already prompting push back from conservative hardliners and the “Default Prevention Act” could be a sign Republicans are gearing up for a fight over the debt ceiling after all.

"This legislation is a marker. Republicans are getting ready to default," said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said of the bill last month, according to the Huffington Post.

Let's make like Canada and toss the lot of them out on their ear.

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