Time-Dealing On The Ceiling — MoscowMitch Munches Madness

October 5, 2021

Even as the world turns, the debt-ceiling trainwreck is still hollering on down the track with about two weeks left before the US powers off the rails into financial never-never land.
Odd, though, the entire bullshit caper is spawned by a political party that doesn’t even pretend to give a shit about what happens to this country.

Truly, we’re into the theater of the absurd — and we hate each other:

When did this all start?
Here are a few data points to consider. From 1994 to 2000, according to the Pew Research Center, only 16-percent of Democrats held a “very unfavorable” view of Republicans, but then these feelings started to climb. Between 2000 and 2014 it rose to 38-percent and by 2021 it was about 52-percent.
And the same is true in reverse for Republicans: The share who intensely dislike Democrats went from 17-percent to 43-percent to about 52-percent.

Yet Democrats aren’t cruel as a point, which places the country in a predicament:

Some background/details on today’s shit from CNN late this afternoon:

Democratic senators are scrambling to find a way to avert a potential debt default as soon as next week amid a high-stakes standoff with Republicans — and are privately discussing whether it’s possible to change Senate rules so the borrowing limit can be raised by a simple majority vote, according to multiple sources at closed-door sessions.

One of the fiercest opponents to changing the filibuster rules, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, insisted on Tuesday that Congress wouldn’t let the country default, though it’s still highly uncertain if he and 49 other Democrats would vote to change the rules even temporarily.
President Joe Biden called the prospect of Democrats adopting a carve out of the filibuster rules “a real possibility” on Tuesday.
Senate Democrats are also discussing whether the White House can use administrative procedures to avoid default, an issue that could be the subject of a court fight if Biden were to greenlight that procedure.

At a caucus lunch on Tuesday, Democrats discussed an array of options on how to proceed next given that Republicans are planning to filibuster the debt ceiling hike on Wednesday.
That will deny Democrats the 60 votes needed to proceed toward a final up-or-down vote in the evenly divided Senate.

With time of the essence before an October 18 deadline, Democrats at the lunch roundly rejected GOP demands to go through a time-consuming procedure known as “budget reconciliation,” arguing they should not heed the calls of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and the politically charged series of amendment votes they would be forced to endure through that complicated process.
Instead, they discussed a series of other Plan B options, including Biden using authority under the 14th Amendment that says the validity of public debt “shall not be questioned,” the sources said.
Democrats fully recognized this idea is untested in the courts, but also said Republicans would risk being blamed for putting the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy if they sued over such a move.

The other option discussed at lunch Tuesday was employing a complex parliamentary procedure — known on Capitol Hill as the nuclear option — that would essentially nullify the 60-vote requirement to break a filibuster to raise the debt ceiling, allowing a simple majority to do so instead.
The issue also came up at a private lunch last Thursday, the sources said, and Democrats said the idea of making a temporary, one-time change in the rule was also being considered.
“We can carve out a one-time exception to the rules for the purpose of protecting the economic well-being of every American,” one Democratic senator said.

Despite all that teeth-gnashing, however, the real shit-snag in this mess is MoscowMitch, one of the great assholes in all of history — from Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times, also this afternoon:

But two weeks before a potentially catastrophic default, Mr. McConnell, now the minority leader, has yet to reveal what he wants, telling President Biden in a letter on Monday, “We have no list of demands.”

Instead, he appears to want to sow political chaos for Democrats while insulating himself and other Republicans from an issue that has the potential to divide them.
Mr. McConnell has said the government must not be allowed to stop paying its debts; he has also said he will not let any Republicans vote to raise the debt limit, while moving to block Democrats from doing so themselves.

He plans to do so again on Wednesday, when the Senate will vote on whether to take up legislation to raise the debt ceiling until December of 2022.
If any Republican objects, it will take 60 votes to move forward, meaning that 10 G.O.P. senators would have to join Democrats in doing so. No one expects those Republican votes to materialize.

Mr. McConnell has prescribed a single alternative for Democrats: Use a complicated budget process known as reconciliation to maneuver around the Republican filibuster that he refuses to lift.
“They need to do this, they have the time to do it, and the sooner they get about it, the better,” he said on Tuesday.

He even seemed to taunt Democrats.
A day after Mr. Biden told Republicans they “need to stop playing Russian roulette with the U.S. economy,” Mr. McConnell, in his signature deadpan, looked into television cameras on Capitol Hill to “implore” Democrats “not to play Russian roulette with the American economy.”

This year is different: Not only are Republicans refusing to vote for the measure, they’re creating an obstacle to stop Democrats from pushing it through themselves.
“There’s still time for 10 Republicans to join us, no matter what some of the extremists on the hard right think,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, pleaded the day before the Wednesday vote to move to his debt ceiling bill.

Senator Angus King of Maine, a moderate independent, sounded despondent. “There’s no bargaining. They’re just stamping their feet and saying no.”
He added, “It’s a qualitatively new level of irresponsibility.”

Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, seemed almost relieved that Mr. McConnell had not put Democrats in a position where they would have to give in to conservative policy demands to stave off a Congress-imposed economic catastrophe.
“I have learned over many years that we cannot negotiate over things like whether or not to destroy the economy,” Mr. Schatz said, adding, “American politics has gone crazy because one party has gone crazy.”

Pretty-much right on. MoscowMitch is pulling a Sinema with chaos in a toilet.

And once again, here we are…

(Illustration out front: ‘A Break in Reality’ by Xetobyte, found here).

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