House GOP Debt Ceiling Bill Is Waste, Fraud And Abuse
What do you call the effort that will be made in the House of Representatives this week to pass a budget-related bill that will never be enacted, won't work as promised even if it somehow does get signed into law and uses the legislative process for purely political purposes?
"Typical" may be the most common answers. My suggestion? That tried-and-true federal budget phrase so often used to complain about federal spending: "Waste, fraud and abuse."
The legislation is the Full Faith and Credit Act, a bill that supposedly would make payments to federal bond holders the priority if the federal debt ceiling isn't raised and the government doesn't have enough cash to pay all its bills when they come due. The legislation would allow the Treasury to borrow more than allowed by the statutory debt ceiling to make these payments.
Why is this waste? Because there's absolutely no chance it will ever become law. Not only will the bill never be taken up by the Senate, it will be vetoed by the president if it somehow manages to be adopted by Congress and is sent to the White House. As a result, the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have already and will continue to be spent by the House to adopt this legislation is, to use the polite term, wasteful.
It's also fraudulent because the legislation won't work as planned. The the agency that actually pays the government's bills -- the Federal Reserve -- has said repeatedly over the years during both Democratic and Republican administrations that it has no ability to prioritize payments and must simply pay checks in the order in which they are presented.
Abusive is the easiest of the three. The bill is an under-the radar way to increase the federal debt ceiling without actually voting to do that. Add to that the fact that the bill would mean that the government would be in technical default on contracts and other non-bond obligations if Treasuries were made first in line and the extent of the abuse being perpetrated becomes larger and more obvious.