It’s a good example of the thrashing around within the House Republican leadership as they seek a way out of the mess they have created.
While the speaker’s bill to create the working group was on the floor, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) described it as a “convoluted, cockamamie legislative effort that is going absolutely nowhere. . . . Another ‘message bill’ that is designed to win today’s news cycle but that gets us no closer to resolving this crisis.”
McGovern then gave this biting summary of the GOP’s past actions, saying: “The list of House Republican demands changes every 10 minutes: repeal Obamacare, defund Obamacare, delay Obamacare, stage a non-filibuster filibuster, ask for the entire Romney economic platform in order to raise the debt ceiling, yell at [National] Park rangers, fund this part of the government, fund that part of the government, pay furloughed employees, pay essential employees, hold a conference meeting, hold a press conference, rinse and repeat. Enough, Mr. Speaker. Enough.”
It all would be entertaining if it weren’t so serious.
The Dow Jones industrial average has dropped more than 265 points so far this week. One-month Treasury bills on Tuesday hit their highest levels since the financial crisis as investors worry about the country paying its short-term debts. As interest rates go up, the cost of the U.S. debt grows, the opposite of deficit reduction.
At the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank this week in Washington, research director Olivier Blanchard told reporters: “If there was a problem lifting the debt ceiling, it could well be that what is now a recovery would turn into a recession or even worse.”
Some bipartisan legislators have to step forward and negotiate this out with the president. It’s certainly not going to be Boehner’s bicameral working group.
For previous Fine Print columns, go to washingtonpost.com/fedpage.