For a minute, we were worried that everything was going to be fine: The House planned to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution that would avoid a shutdown and fund the government through December, splitting off the usual poison pill of de-funding Obamacare into a separate resolution for the Senate to laugh at.
Well, silly us for so much as wondering whether Cantor and Boehner really had the balls to bring this to the floor, because like so many other Tea Party confabs, that vote has been cancelled due to lack of interest. The Club for Growth made it known that voting for the CR was unacceptable to the oligarchy, and as usual, House Republicans are too terrified of the lunatic dupes that vote in their primaries and the acquisitive cynics who control them to do anything that resembles governing. Also, House Republicans look set to push us to the brink of default… again… for no good reason at all. On the plus side, puppies remain adorable.
But ugh, the debt ceiling. Even in a political environment brimming like a clogged toilet with annoying shit, the debt ceiling “debate” is uniquely infuriating. That the question of whether we should raise the debt ceiling is even entertained as legitimate is a powerful indictment of America’s intelligence.
You can tell people over and over again that raising the debt ceiling is not the same as increasing the deficit; that it’s simply paying the bills like responsible people do; that if we don’t do it, the debt will actually increase because investors will demand higher interest rates on American Treasury securities that we use to pay for stuff (because default has made them risky investments); and that there’s a good chance a default could trigger another global recession, end the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency, and forfeit America’s enviable role as the world’s financial clearing house. You can yell it at them: HEY, DUMMY, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS DUMB AND WRONG AND HERE ARE A MILLION REASONS WHY! And they won’t care, because deficit, and Obamacare, and Benghazi/Syria/who even knows.
All that said, we’re probably not going to default. Even if Boehner decides he can risk going down in history as the worst House Speaker ever, a discharge petition could be used to bring a debt ceiling bill to the floor for a vote without the Speaker’s approval. A simple majority of House members would need to publicly sign on to the effort, which means 18 Republicans joining all 200 Democrats and voting ‘yes’ on the bill. There are probably 18 Republicans who aren’t ratlike, solipsistic cowards, right? …Right? …Bueller?