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Thursday, October 27, 2016

House Republicans have narrowed their debt ceiling strategies to two demands, neither of which have anything to do with actually reducing America’s debt.

In exchange for a one-year extension of the debt ceiling so the Treasury can pay debts Congress has already voted to take on, Republicans want the repeal of Obamacare’s risk corridors, according to the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa.

Risk corridors will reduce the deficit by $8 billion over the next three years, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report. Republicans included the same mechanism — which they are now calling a “bailout” — in Medicare Part D indefinitely.

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, the United States would intentionally default on its debts for the first time ever. This could lead to a financial crisis that many experts believe would at least rival the one that preceded the Great Recession.

And whom would the public blame for this completely avoidable catastrophe?

A majority, 54 percent, say they would blame House Republicans, while 29 percent would blame the president and 23 percent would blame both, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. Independents would blame the House GOP over the president by a 49 to 30 percent margin.

These numbers match polls taken at the end of the government shutdown in October, showing that Republicans have not shed their obstructionist image even after agreeing to a two-year budget pact. Republican favorability has improved only slightly since the all-time lows recorded during the heat of the standoff.

Since the debt ceiling showdown of 2011, Republicans have raised the debt limit twice with only token demands, as President Obama refused to negotiate for an increase. This year’s deficit will be less than half of the trillion-dollar deficits recorded during the peak of the financial crisis, both as a raw number and as a share of the gross domestic product.

Budget deficit

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said that he will not let the country default, knowing that going too far down this road could cost his party its majority.

Senate Democrats plan to remove extra demands from any House bill raising the debt limit and send it back to the lower house, the Huffington Post reports. This is the same strategy that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) employed with the continuing resolution during the government shutdown, as his caucus remained united against ransom demands.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Graph Source: Sunlight Foundation, White House Office of Management and Budget

Graph Credit: Alyson Hurt and Tamara Keith / NPR

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    So here we are the edge again and the GOP wants to jump. Will they ever learn?

  • daniel bostdorf

    And as they do this, the global economic community is selling off stocks in droves anticipating another GOP/Teaparty hostage taking. They can’t trust the GOP/Teaparty.

    Nor should any clear thinking responsible Democrat, Republican or whatever your political philosophy is…

    And if default happens, and maybe it should, the American people will simply get rid of the Teaparty/GOP once and for all and turn the House back over to Democrats so that we can move this country FORWARD based upon what the entire AMERICAN United States, not divided states, needs.

    Great article and graphs Jason!

  • charleo1

    In the summer of 2011, after a little more than two years of minority obstructionism, had failed to push the U.S. economy back into
    recession. The EU, our largest trading partner, was teetering toward default, and disaster, when last minute, measures, short term loans from Germany, and the IMF, would manage to avert yet another crisis that had the capacity to bring a highly inter-connected, and fragile, world economy to the point of, or into depression. It was into this atmosphere, a newly elected group of anti-government insurgents, underwritten by a shadowy cabal of wealthy individuals, promoted by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, and an assortment of other Right Wing propagandists, were now attempting to blackmail the United States of America. Using a little known, and poorly understood Congressional procedure, that authorized Congress to approve raising the borrowing limit of the U.S. Government. So that monies be made available to pay for obligations, or debts, already made, and approved by Congress. We soon came to know as, “the debt ceiling.” And the same ideologues, and radical extremist, that had ran their deceptive political campaigns on jobs, and reducing a public debt, fueled by two wars, and a raging recession, were now threatening to turn that recession into a worldwide, financial calamity, if certain demands were not met. First, draconian, budget cuts were to be made to food programs, and other support measures to the poor, and the Federal budget was to be cut immediately by 20 billion dollars. An action economists agreed would spiral the Country into deep recession. Also tax cuts, for much the wealthy elite, and corporations, that funded their rise to power, were to be passed immediately, and signed by the President. And a Constitutional Amendment, requiring the United States Government be prohibited by law, from obtaining additional credit, unless approved by a 2/3 majority in an emergency session of Congress. And this, “Balanced Budget Amendment,” was to be brought forth and passed by Congress, and presented to the States, and passage be obtained, before an authorization preventing a default, would be allowed to pass the House of Representatives. As such Amendments can take years, and are a huge undertaking in the best of circumstances. It was clear, these anarchist, bastards were not making demands they hoped would be met. But were intent on causing the U.S., the bearer of the world’s currency, foundation of the world’s economy, to go into an intentional, and politically induced, default. An action in economic terms, equaling, or surpassing the terrorists attacks on 9/11/2001.
    I just go back to this, because I’ll never forget the time, duly elected terrorist, traitors, and enemies of the United States, were holding the Country, and the world hostage, in the 4th year, of the Great Recession, in the first year of the 2nd decade, of the 21st century. Another date that should live in infamy, in the annals of history of the U.S.

    • FredAppell

      Charleo, is it possible that the plan that these bastards are trying to implement is really a hostile takeover of America’s finances and resources thereby causing a cascade effect for the rest of the world’s economy which would allow these people to buy up and control everything for cheap in turn indenturing all of us or am I reading too much into your comment?

      • charleo1

        Fred, I don’t know what they’re up to. It’s pretty obvious
        to me, most of them aren’t capable of knowing what
        they’re up to either. So, I believe they are being told what to do by somebody. If we only had a free press, with journalist who could investigate these things! What I do
        know, is I would not put anything past this bunch. They
        seem to be trying to drive up interest rates. A good thing
        if you’re a billionaire. And, possibly try to end the Federal
        Reserve, and have the Federal Government, going hat in
        hand to the billionaires again, for money to run the Country. I’m sure that would please a few of them, just

        • FredAppell

          Thanks for articulating your point! There’s too many people coming and going through the halls of power. Your comment “So, I believe they are being told what to do by somebody” is a common belief shared by more people than you can imagine, including me. There would almost have to be one constant power to keep cohesion and I don’t have much faith in our institutions at the present time to be the source of that cohesion. So……

          Have a great night.

      • dpaano

        Fred: If you get a chance, read “Broken Government” by John Dean. It’s a very enlightening book about how the GOP wants to take over our entire government and have an “imperial presidency” (which is what they’re accusing President Obama of doing, imagine that). John Dean was a Republican working under Nixon, so he knows what he’s talking about. It’s an awesome, eye-opening book, but it scares the bejeezus out of me, especially if they ever get back into power with a Republican president. If that happens, we might as well kiss out butts good-bye because we’ll end up just like the country we left to come here! Everytime I read something like this, I liken it to what Dean said, and it makes everything they are doing that much clearer.

        • FredAppell

          Dpaano, I’ve never heard of John Dean but then again that’s a little before my time. Now, the reason
          I make such a proclamation is because all I ever remember while growing up is an “imperial presidency”, some have obviously been more successful than others but all have wielded enormous power. We don’t even have to look very hard at all to see that we’ve all grown up with presidents who have imperialistic designs. Even our much lauded Founding Fathers exercised powers that brought them disdain from the average Joe’s
          of their day. Our Founding Fathers were even considered tyrannical by some. Manifest Destiny is a
          claim to imperialism. I may catch some crap for my beliefs on the subject but I believe that America is progressing precisely in the vision set forth by our Forefathers. Make no mistake, if I can find that book by John Dean, I’d be more than happy to read it, but I think his warnings are about 200 years too late. We’re up against more than we realize.

          • dpaano

            The book is pretty new, and you can order it on Amazon (not advertising for Amazon, but that’s where I got it). Unfortunately, we’ve had NOTHING like the current GOP is anticipating should they ever get into power. Dean writes about how the GOP agenda all basically started after Nixon left office….and it’s escalated from there. For example, look at how the Supreme Court is filled with conservatives? Anyway, again, if you get the chance, get the book and read it. It was really an interesting book and Dean was an “insider” at the time….he knows where the skeletons are buried. He even goes into how Bush/Cheney went around the Constitution many times to the dismay of the Democrats, who really didn’t do anything about it.

          • FredAppell

            I know you’re not advertising for Amazon…Or are you. :)) Sorry, stupid joke, I couldn’t resist.:) I’m glad you responded a second time because in spite of my earlier rant, one thing I failed to mention is that I don’t support an imperialistic presidency. It may have sounded that way but my style of writing tends to parallel my thoughts, I bounce all over the place, damn that ADD. Your statement about Democrats being dismayed but doing nothing about it is huge, it’s very telling in the sense that we are up against an establishment, let’s face facts, no person regardless of who they are or what they stand for has a snow balls
            chance in hell of being elected to anything without the backing of either of the two big parties. If said person wants to stay in power, they have to compromise their integrity, assuming they any to begin with but that’s how it works and it’s shameful.

            I apologize, every time you try to tell me about the book, I go off on a rant, that’s not fair to you. Yes, if I can scrape up enough money I will buy the book. It’s difficult right now to come up with a few measly dollars to spend on something that isn’t in the budget, you probably know where I’m coming from, most do these days.

          • dpaano

            Never thought otherwise, Fred. I, of course, don’t support an imperial presidency either, and I don’t think most of the people in the U.S. would! However, that’s what’s on the GOP’s agenda…..they want to do away with government as it stands now and change it to a one person, one decision-type of government. Not my cup of tea!!! As for the book, I don’t think it’s too expensive…, if you get a chance and a couple of bucks, it would behoove you to get it. As I mentioned, it’s very eye-opening, especially about the Bush/Cheney administration!! It’s downright scary when you hear how many times that administration ran over the Constitution without anyone either (1) noticing; or (2) doing much about it! Have a great evening….glad you’re on the right side of the fence!

          • FredAppell

            Likewise my friend….I always enjoy connecting with a fellow patriot, it’s time our side reclaim that term. Have a great night.

        • Sand_Cat

          One correction: Britain, and a lot of the other countries “we came from” are already better than this one in most important respects; a GOP takeover might increase that a great deal, but it’s already done huge damage.

          • Allan Richardson

            I get the impression from reading the Constitution and the history of how it was written, that the Founders recognized that a President should be a SHORT TERM dictator in a crisis, but have a LEASH on him held by the Congress. They did NOT intend for a group of people DESIGNED NOT to be able to make quick decisions to be in charge of micro-managing day-to-day business. EVEN in peacetime, and EVEN with 18th century communications and transportation, that would not have been workable.

            The parts of our history that worked out well in the end were managed this way. Jefferson bought enough land to triple our area without consulting Congress, and after some grumbling, Congress went along. He also sent the Marines into Tripoli without officially declaring war, in a “police action” against the pirates. Lincoln, in suppressing an insurrection (it was never legally called a “war”), suspended civil liberties TEMPORARILY, and freed the slaves in rebel territory in hopes they would revolt; only AFTER the insurrection was ended did Congress, and the non-rebelling states, ratify the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery LEGALLY. But John Wilkes Booth called him a “tyrant” (quoting the Virginia state motto “Sic semper tyrannis” after shooting the President), and as Antony said about Brutus, “he is an ‘honorable’ man.”

            The “imperial” objection is to the pomp and ceremony associated with the office, which has grown tremendously since World War II. Can you believe that Harry Truman used to take a daily WALK from the White House to his local Post Office to buy stamps for his personal mail (he believed the franking privilege should only be used for official business)? And that reporters approached him and held a “walking press conference” while he walked? Obviously, since JFK, security has made that impossible in the original sense.

            And the fact that a nuclear war, as feared during the Cold War, would come without enough warning to ALERT Congress, much less vote on declaring war, led to the constant proximity of military officers with the nuclear “football” to the President, in case he orders a counterstrike (at inaugurations, the officer attends with the outgoing President, and precisely at noon, when the codes are changed in the system, moves to the side of the incoming President; the swearing-in occurs after power has been transferred). Over time, this tendency to defer immediate action to the President has made the power to declare war almost redundant.

            All these factors have tended to make the office of the President quasi-imperial in both authority and ceremony, but the best Presidents (in my opinion), such as Truman, have pushed back against these tendencies as much as their circumstances allow; yet the very same people who claim that a President of the “other” party is becoming “imperial” also complain that the same President, when pushing back against excessive formality and ceremony, is “demeaning the dignity of the office.” For example, when Jimmy Carter and his wife WALKED part of the way to the White House in his inaugural parade (not to mention asking people to call him “Jimmy” and not “James”), or when Barack Obama was photographed allowing a young black child to feel his head, the complaints went out.

            The most positive spin we could put on the way the GOP treats Obama is that they are getting closer to the way Parliament treats every Prime Minister; but the difference is, they would have shown one of their OWN, a WHITE REPUBLICAN, or even a WHITE Democrat, more respect as the President than they show Obama, while in the British tradition, EVERY PM is treated like a well paid public servant, and thus questioned rudely at times, respectfully at other times. Of course, they have a powerless Queen or King in whom to vest all the pomp and ritual as a non-partisan symbol of the country. We have struggled two hundred and a score of years to use our President for both jobs.

          • FredAppell

            Magnificent post! The idea that an imperialistic presidency has existed since Thomas Jefferson is not very popular but it is true. The actions alone are the only proof we need. Years after America reached the Pacific Ocean we continued to acquire more territories, The Hawaiian Islands, Philippines, Samoa,
            all acquired by us. Those are just a few transgressions committed by our country. I honestly don’t understand how people don’t attribute our actions as having imperialistic goals. Thank you for making the finer points in your comment.

        • Allan Richardson

          But of course, THEIR Imperial President would be Good, because America! Freedumb! Terrorists! But the OTHER party’s Imperial President (which only the RWNJ crowd actually believes in) would be Evil, because Benghazi! Obamacare! socialism! etc.

  • Stuart

    Threatening to destroy the country is a requirement to get their Koch Brothers welfare checks.

    • daniel bostdorf

      How will a threat do this?

  • Daniel Jones

    If the House Repugnant continue threatening to slash the nation’s financial throat, maybe we should, I don’t know, BYPASS THE EVIL MOTHERFUCKERS.

    • daniel bostdorf


      • Barbara Morgan

        As I understand it the 14th amendment can be used to pay the government debts so we don’t default and Congress can not stop the President from using to raise the ceiling. I know I am right about paying our bills but not raising the ceiling. President Obama also needs to stop trying to work with them and do what is best for the Country and tell them to take a flying leap into a pot of boiling shale oil.

        • daniel bostdorf

          my reply at top

  • Gary Graves

    Don’t leave out the farm bill subsidies for the rich.

  • daniel bostdorf

    A reminder about the article topic: Republicans Finalize Hostage Demand, Public Prepares To Blame Them For Default

    First of all…politically…purely Machiavellian politics…Obama wants a default in the lap of GOP for the 2014 elections. The GOP/Teaparty boxed themselves into a no-win corner.

    This has nothing to do with the 14th Amendment.

    The GOP/Teaparty is holding this country hostage unnecessarily, and if Bonehead Boehner and crew won’t raise the debt of the budget they approved…and we default….that will be the GOP’s fault.

    “During the impasse between Obama and Congress over hiking the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling in summer 2011 in, the fourth increase of the mandatory borrowing cap in Obama’s first term, scholars and activists questioned whether the president could raise the debt ceiling without approval from Congress. Obama decided against such a move, nicknamed the “constitutional option.” He said White House attorneys had researched
    the idea and believed it would not hold up in court. “I have talked to
    my lawyers,” Obama said at the time. “They are not persuaded that that
    is a winning argument.”

    It is POLITICALLY not a winning strategy to invoke the 14th amendment prior to the 2014 elections…

    Debt Ceiling and the 14th Amendment?? The Constitution is vague on the
    question……The 14th Amendment states, in part, that “the validity of
    the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts
    incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in
    suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”


    Congress has no authority to object to spending of which it has already approved.

    They have to approve the debt ceiling and Obama, a Constitutional lawyer, knows this….:

    As I stated before, if default happens, and maybe it should, the American people will simply get rid of the Teaparty/GOP once and for all and turn the House and raise the majority in the Senate back over to Democrats so that we can move this country FORWARD based upon what the entire AMERICAN United States, not divided states, needs.

    Great article and graphs Jason!

    • latebloomingrandma

      If Obama would invoke the 14th amendment and we don’t default, there would be impeachment cries for King Obama, because it is impossible for people to believe a catastrophe is diverted if they can’t see or feel it. . Yet if the country defaulted and ended up with Great Recession II, he would be blamed as the person in charge.

    • FredAppell

      You must be a gambling man, latebloominggrandma makes a good point, although I am in agreement you in theory, it all boils down to where people get their information from. Remember, there was a
      substantial amount of voters who thought that the GOP caved in too quickly and easily during the shutdown. FOX typically laid it at Obama’s feet and all the ditto head right wing radio personalities were on board as well. They hold a lot of sway over their sheeple,
      that’s 10’s of millions of angry low information voters.

      • 4sanity4all

        I understand that many right wing voters live in states where the educational system is just awful, so they never developed critical thinking skills or logic. But you would think that the people who make it to Congress would have more than rudimentary education. The way John Boehner was acting during the last 5 years, I had no respect for his intelligence. Yesterday I read an article about him. It seems he used to be a good compromiser and deal maker, and he is getting quite sick of dancing to the tune of right wing wackos. I’m glad he is waking up, but what does it say about his values and integrity, that he allowed himself to be led around by the nose for so long? Perhaps some other Republicans will wake up, too, and start to do what they were supposed to do- discuss, compromise, and pass laws that benefit all citizens. I hope people remember the damage they inflicted on our economy, and the dragging out of the recession, when smart legislation would have set it right much sooner. And when will Republicans start to call out “news” stories that are based on half truths and lies? Their stubbornness has divided this country for far too long, and it is time to act in ways that pull us together as a people, and not divide us into a class war.

        • FredAppell

          Good post, just don’t be too quick to absolve Boehner. I’m not sure if you know this or not but John Boehner comes from a working class, card carrying, Democratic family. His politics started to change after he made his first million dollars. To say he has any semblance of integrity seems to have diminished once he joined the upper crust. Boehner has his reasons for this change (they always seem to have their reasons don’t they?). You said it best yourself,
          he allowed himself to be lead around but he did so knowing the consequences and he willingly played
          partisan politics at a dangerous time in our history and we all became the losers because of it. That’s unforgivable, many may never recover from his folly.
          Country before party, isn’t that what we’re taught,apparently the right wing and their constituency didn’t get the memo. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m taking a swipe at you, it’s not you,
          certain things you said triggered an angry response, that’s good though, you inspired me. 🙂

          • Allan Richardson

            I know, son of a bartender. If his dad (or mom or any sibling) is alive they probably feel his college tuition was a waste of money, since he ran off and joined the circus (well, what else would you call this Congress?) and abandoned the family’s values.

          • FredAppell


  • elw

    The GOP is a great illustration of “not learning from past mistakes.” Oh, Well. ” Stupid is as stupid does.”

  • Lee Trevino

    If the Republican Party chooses to default, they will be known as the worst political party in American History. Even worst than opposing civil rights legislation, worst than being against the minimum wage, and worst than pushing for the unjustified Iraq war. I hope they do, so they can lose control of the House and lose more seats in the Senate.

  • howa4x

    What the GOP house is contemplating is being a dead beat. This is analogous to buying on credit and saying to the bank when the bill is due that I want concessions out of you prior to me paying it. What do you think the bank will do? 1st they will raise the interest you are paying on your revolving account and simultaneously down grade your credit with rating agencies. Now when you have to go back in the market for credit you are already labeled as a looser. This is what the republicans are tinkering with. We already got the products and services and now they don’t want to pay the bill unless they get something for it. It is called magical thinking

  • Lynda Groom

    Just this morning they’ve announced that they have nothing. Both ideas do not have the required votes for move foreward. When all the noise is gone there will be a clean bill and they can move on to the next distraction. Silly boys.