House Speaker John Boehner promises a "whale of a fight" over the debt ceiling after being attacked by the right for not being willing to shut the government down in order to defund "Obamacare."
August 27, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner is promising "a whale of a fight" over raising the debt ceiling after being attacked by right-wing hate talker Mark Levin and the TeaBirchers for not being willing to shut down the government in order to defund "Obamacare." As Lawrence O'Donnell discussed on his show this Tuesday, it seems Boehner is trying to make nice with them by threatening a shutdown over the debt ceiling instead.

I don't know what's going to come of this, but as Ezra Klein explained in the second clip below, this is a very dangerous game we're seeing played out here.

Here's more on the back and forth: Here we go again: Debt limit showdown:

In a letter to congressional leadership, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the U.S. government would hit its debt limit sooner than expected. Lew wrote Monday that the U.S. government will reach the limit of its borrowing ability in mid-October and urged Congress to reach a budget deal to raise the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit.

Lew’s concern set a more specific deadline for congressional action, demanding a vote to increase the debt ceiling to avert a financial crisis.

Based on our latest estimates, extraordinary measures are projected to be exhausted in the middle of October. At that point, the United States will have reached the limit of its borrowing authority, and Treasury would be left to fund the government with only the cash we have on hand on any given day. The cash balance at that time is currently forcasted to be approximately $50 billion.

Echoing a speech he gave to the Commonwealth Club of California last week, Lew said, “Congress should act as soon as possible to meet its reponsibility to the nation and to remove the threat of default.”

Although lawmakers are still in recess, they will be forced to deal with several economic and fiscal catastrophes when they return on September 9th. Along with raising the debt limit, Congress still has sequestration and funding the government to deal with. Lew argued that raising the country’s borrowing limit would not increase government spending, a common criticism by House Republicans. [...]

With some Republicans threatening a government shutdown and the White House refusing to negotiate over the debt ceiling, it feels more like 2011 than 2013.

MSNBC has more on Boehner's posturing here as well: The debt ceiling: Is Boehner just blustering?:

Uh oh. The U.S. is approaching the next debt ceiling in mid-October. Congress will have to raise the borrowing limit to avoid default, and Republican leaders are insisting yet again on spending cuts in exchange for their vote. [...]

It’s the same GOP demand that created 2011′s debt ceiling crisis–the one that led to the deal creating sequestration’s automatic spending cuts. That precedent is now fueling fears that Congress and the White House will have another dangerous stand-off, imperiling America’s still-sluggish recovery and the stability of global markets.

And if that weren’t enough to worry about, we’ll reach the debt ceiling this year earlier than expected: just after the Sept. 30 deadline for the next budget, which could mean risking a government shutdown as well as default if Congress can’t come to a fiscal agreement.

But this debt-ceiling fight is different.

Boehner may be full of fighting words this week while his members are still hosting town halls back home. But he’s already whiffed on the debt ceiling once before: in January, House Republicans voted to “suspend” the debt ceiling for a few months without any new cuts attached to the vote. Technically, it wasn’t a debt-ceiling hike: It temporarily suspended the part of the law that imposes a borrowing limit. Functionally, however, there was no difference between the suspension and an increase. As such, Boehner has already shown himself willing to let pragmatism overrule the right flank of his party.

Go read the rest, but as they explained, there's every reason to suspect that Boehner is doing a lot of bloviating again this time around. Robert Reich believes the bond markets and Wall Street will start going nuts if Republicans decide to push this thing to the brink and force them to come to their senses. Let's hope for some sanity before that point, but with this current crop of nihilists in the GOP right now, I don't take anything for granted.

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