RIP, debt ceiling crises.
It’s obvious that Republicans have lost their old passion for holding the global economy hostage. Their final demands would have required Democrats to agree to increase spending in the near term in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
In 2011, the GOP introduced the “Boehner rule,” which required — for the first time — that any raise of the debt limit be matched by cuts to the deficit. Their resolve triggered a small financial panic and the party won the automatic cuts in the sequester.
The GOP quickly folded on raising the limit in early 2013, but during the government shutdown it offered an insane menu of demands to the president in exchange for agreeing to pay the bills Congress already voted to run up. Republican leaders caved and set themselves up for another standoff in early 2014, which led to the most recent cave.
“We don’t have 218 votes,” Boehner said in a press conference on Tuesday. “When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing.”
The Speaker announced that he will vote for a clean debt limit raise that will last until 2015, well after the midterm elections. And he would try to find enough Republicans to help him pass the bill.
He then left the press conference singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Within minutes, a conservative group was already calling for Boehner to be replaced.
It’s a wonderful day for Democrats, who have broken the GOP’s willingness to resort to extraordinary levels of brinksmanship.
Here are five reasons the GOP caved.
AFP Photo/Jim Watson