It wasn't too long yesterday after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his support for the president's position on Syria that the blogosphere erupted with speculation that the White House had cut a deal. Boehner, it was said, had quickly signed on to U.S. military action against Syria in exchange for the White House moving closer to the GOP position on the upcoming battles on the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and sequestration, that is, on #cliffgate.
The two issues are so separate, the White House and congressional Republicans are so far apart on everything having to do with the budget, Boehner's and Obama's ability to deliver their respective party's votes on spending and revenues so doubtful and Boehner's and the president's history of negotiating so poor that it's virtually impossible to imagine how the administration and the speaker could possibly have come to any agreement on Syria and #cliffgate so quickly.
There will be only 9 legislative days before fiscal 2014 starts on October 1. Approximately 15 calendar (but no more than 10 legislative) days later, the Treasury says the government will not have the cash it needs to pay all its bills. At that point either the federal debt ceiling will have to be raised so the government may borrow more or a technical or actual default will occur.
Yes...The headline on this post is inflammatory and intended to attract eyeballs, visitors and clicks.
It's also totally accurate.
I'm posting this is because of this editorial in today's The New York Times that is both absolutely correct and incredibly naive when it comes to federal spending on natural disasters.
Here's the money quote:
Two weeks or so ago I posted that this fall's (and winter's) budget debate could best be described as "budget bedlam."
I was wrong.
Since that post the situation has taken a turn for the worse and "bedlam," which sounds more like a Marx Bothers, Mack Sennett, or Three Stooges movie than a political event, may no longer be appropriate.
I'm using a new phrase -- Fiscal Fiasco -- to describe what could be ahead.
What's changed? House and Senate Republicans are now threatening to use the debt ceiling increase that will be needed by the middle of November rather than the continuing resolution that will be needed by October 1 to make yet another stand on Obamacare.
This is more than just a timing shift for the fight: It actually significantly changes the probability that something economically disastrous could result.
I've referred back to this post so many times since it first went up more than two years ago that I almost have to apologize for doing it again.
Almost, but not really, and especially not this time.
For those who are new to CG&G (or who have blocked out any memory of that post for your own reasons), in early 2011 I was the first speaker at the first meeting of the House tea party caucus.
I was invited by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) to speak about the coming debt ceiling fight because of a column I had written (and she misread) for Roll Call. I spoke first but was asked to stay for the rest of the meeting when the tea party chairs from Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia told (actually...screamed at would be a better description) the 20 or so representatives who were there what they wanted from them in that session of Congress.
Number one on their wish list was -- and this is an exact quote -- "defund Obamacare."