The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday, explaining that the U.S. will hit the statutory debt limit on December 31 unless Congress acts.

Geithner said “extraordinary measures” could give the government $200 billion in leeway that would allow the government to pay its bills until around March. If we go over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” that would allow even more breathing room, as tax breaks expire and automatic spending cuts would go into effect — despite the contraction it might trigger on the economy as a whole.

MSNBC’s Steve Benen compared Geithner’s warning to the gas dashboard light coming on.

Raising the debt limit gives the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to go further into debt to pay bills that are entirely the result of bills passed by Congress.

In 2011, Republicans held the debt limit hostage for spending cuts for the first time in American history. In the week before a deal could be made, which led to much of our current “fiscal cliff” situation, the stock market erased 6 months of gains.

The president has said that he will not go down this same path.

Whether this means that he’s willing to invoke the 14 th amendment — which reads, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion shall not be questioned” — is unclear.

President Bill Clinton said in 2011 that he would do just that and force the GOP to take him to court.

So 2013 begins with a GOP’s strategy of obstruction yielding ever more completely avoidable crises.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jim Cole

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Participants hold placards as they mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington D.C. on January 17, 2022

Washington (AFP) - Members of Martin Luther King Jr's family joined marchers Monday in Washington urging Congress to pass voting rights reform as the United States marked the holiday commemorating the slain civil rights leader.

King's son Martin Luther King III spoke at the march, warning that many states "have passed laws that make it harder to vote" more than half a century after the activism of his father.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}