The Debt Ceiling Gets Kicked Down The Road

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 18 2013 @ 5:41pm

The GOP has agreed to raise the debt ceiling for three months. Chait celebrates:

The whole key to making Obama’s extortion-squelching plan, and saving American government from endless cycles of hostage drama that would eventually end in a default, was to credibly insist that he would not trade anything for a debt ceiling hike. After he moved his red line on tax cuts, I doubted that Obama could really make this stick. But he has.

Cillizza explains what Republicans are thinking:

As one senior House Republican aide explained it, putting the debt ceiling after the sequester (the series of automatic, across the board cuts that will kick in unless Congress acts to cut spending on its own) and insisting that the Senate produce a budget before April 15 or not be paid shifts the terms of the debate in a favorable way  for Republicans.

Quin Hillyer wishes the GOP had gotten symbolic cuts:

I understand what the GOP leaders are doing in putting off the debt ceiling fight until after they bank the gains from the sequester. I understand them trying to put the onus on the Senate to pass a budget. I understand these things, and I don’t think they are awful idea — but I would do something just a bit different. I would not pass a clean debt ceiling hike for the equivalent of three months; I would tie it to a very nominal package of savings, even if only, say, $15 billion over ten years, if just to establish the principle that cuts belong with debt ceiling hikes.

And Kilgore wants to know what the Republicans’ demands are:

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.