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January 18, 2013 4:20 PM Creative Can-Kicking

By Ed Kilgore

Understanding that a restive press corps wanted something tangible to report after a three-day House Republican retreat, Eric Cantor announced the House would take up and pass a three-month increase in the debt limit. So does that mean they’d vote against a further increase in the debt limit if this new deadline comes and goes without the draconian spending cuts they keep demanding the president propose? Maybe not: the big demand at the moment is that the Senate pass a budget resolution, and the only Big Stick Cantor mentioned was a suspension of congressional pay.

It’s not entirely clear to me how the House can cut off pay for Senators. And the demand Cantor made primarily convinces me House Republicans are even more delusional about public interest in the congressional budget process than they are about Fast-and-Furious and Benghazi.

I guess this can-kicking does roughly align the debt limit expiration, the end of the “sequestration” delay, and the lapse in the continuing appropriations measure passed last year. So in theory it creates a Great Big Tripartite Crisis this spring. But Republicans still need to figure out what they are demanding from whom and when. A hostage-taker who’s not sure what ransom to ask isn’t usually real successful.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • bleh on January 18, 2013 4:27 PM:

    Issa -- the REPUBLICAN House Oversight Committee Chair -- now says the idea is unconstitutional.

    What a parade of fail.

  • jhm on January 18, 2013 4:38 PM:

    Looking at it another way, what does anyone think that GOP pols would be doing if it weren't for these serial self-inflicted crises? It's not like they have policy ideas in the can ready to roll out (at least none they want to be seen dead with). They could vote to abolish Obamacare a few dozen more times, and perhaps take up the Ryan budget some more. Really, what else do they have to do?

  • Anonymous on January 18, 2013 4:40 PM:

    this can-kicking does roughly align the debt limit expiration, the end of the “sequestration” delay, and the lapse in the continuing appropriations measure

    It's a harmonica virgins!

  • Josef K on January 18, 2013 4:44 PM:

    Eric Cantor announced the House would take up and pass a three-month increase in the debt limit.

    My first instinct is to laugh, as this defuses the immediate crisis.

    My second is to scream in mortal terror at the prospect of this madness being drawn out yet another three months.

    Then we hear this:

    the big demand at the moment is that the Senate pass a budget resolution, and the only Big Stick Cantor mentioned was a suspension of congressional pay.

    The screaming wins out, because its now clear Congress is being run by complete idiots, and no country can long endure its legislature malfunctioning like this.

    I swear, an episode of "The Venure Bros." makes more sense, and "American Dad" looks more like a political documentary than a cartoon!

  • Peter C on January 18, 2013 4:56 PM:

    There’s no need for Congress to pass a law withholding their pay when they fail to do their jobs. I’d be satisfied if they just sign a pledge to give back their salaries when they prove their incompetence (again).

    Better yet, they could resign. That would be the simplest solution.

  • Anonymous on January 18, 2013 4:57 PM:

    "A hostage-taker who’s not sure what ransom to ask isn’t usually real successful."

    The Republicans are beginning to remind me of the kidnappers in O. Henry's "Ransom of Red Chief":

    Two Desperate Men.

    Gentlemen: I received your letter to-day by post, in regard to the ransom you ask for the return of my son. I think you are a little high in your demands, and I hereby make you a counter-proposition, which I am inclined to believe you will accept. You bring Johnny home and pay me two hundred and fifty dollars in cash, and I agree to take him off your hands. You had better come at night, for the neighbours believe he is lost, and I couldn't be responsible for what they would do to anybody they saw bringing him back.

    Very respectfully,
    EBENEZER DORSET.

    http://www.online-literature.com/donne/1041/

  • arkie on January 18, 2013 4:59 PM:

    Sorry about the Anonymous posting. I hit the "post" button too quickly.

  • bleh on January 18, 2013 5:10 PM:

    UPDATE: Now Issa says it IS constitutional!

    Just when you thought the parade was over!

  • Peter C on January 18, 2013 5:23 PM:

    Issa was right the first time:

    The 27th amendment says, "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

    That's the text - the entire text.

    Reading comprehension - a dying art, apparently.

  • Ron Byers on January 18, 2013 5:25 PM:

    If memory serves doesn't the constitution have a provision dealing with congressional pay? I think Issa was right the first try.

  • Tom W on January 18, 2013 5:32 PM:

    I think can-kicking is the best we can ask for and certainly better than any of the "grand bargains." We have to get used to it. The next debt ceiling crisis will probably be a "just ignore their tantrums, they'll eventually cave like last time" event.

  • Kathryn on January 18, 2013 5:42 PM:

    IMO, a three month deal is unacceptable, not that I'm anybody of importance. Raise the debt limit for the year, as is customary. It was the GOP true leader Grover Norquistm who suggested one month raising of the debt limit, this is just,a version of that. Flat out NO.

  • Joe Friday on January 18, 2013 5:47 PM:

    "Eric Cantor announced the House would take up and pass a three-month increase in the debt limit"

    Harry Reid should refuse to bring it up as unserious. The American people do not want to be going through this nonsense every 90 days.

  • Ron Byers on January 18, 2013 5:51 PM:

    Arkie wins the thread and the day with his very apt literary reference.

  • MuddyLee on January 18, 2013 6:45 PM:

    It really doesn't take much in the way of brains to be elected to the House of Representatives in a republican district does it? It was bad enough in 1980 with the repubs who came in with Reagan - it has only gotten worse. Let the repubs keep talking, and maybe enough of the voters will finally get it - these crazy-ass people shouldn't be running/ruining our lives.

  • Robert Waldmann on January 19, 2013 2:56 AM:

    As you note above, the Representatives can't even cut off their own pay. The 27th amendment forbids changes in congressional compensation which take effect before the next election.

    I very much agree with the "even more delusional." Did you notice that on election day Sarah Palin brought up the failure of the Senate to pass a budget resolution ? The public doesn't care. But why do Republicans want a senate budget resolution ? It is, in fact, very important, as it is the only way to get around the filibuster. Is Cantor crazy, stupid or both ?

  • Lance on January 19, 2013 11:45 AM:

    Let me make this one simple.

    The Republicans want the Democrats to have to identify spending cuts, so in 2014 the Republicans can run against the spending cut recommendations of the Democrats.

  • Tom Chapman on January 19, 2013 6:08 PM:

    I have yet to hear an explanation of why the GOP believes the sequester negotiations will provide them more leverage. Both sides want to diminish or delay the parts of the sequester they dislike. And both want to ease the cuts to defense. But why would Obama and Democrats offer any additional cuts on the non-defense side for the privilege of agreeing to more defense spending?

    Quite obviously, there will be a compromise that benefits all - with perhaps a sight tilt toward the benefit of defense. Where is there any leverage that would cause significant new cuts to entitlements or cause the debt ceiling to be a factor?

    I don't get it.