New GOP debt ceiling offer: We’ll put off shooting the hostages til Christmas

First came the headline that House Republicans were planning to offer a “deal” to extend the debt ceiling limits for six weeks in exchange for “fresh negotiations.” But that’s not all.

Then came the poison pill: The latest GOP proposal includes a permanent ban on the Treasury department using any kind of “emergency” measures to stave off default in the future.

Shorter GOP: Promise not to save them, and we’ll kill the hostages at Christmas. Ho ho ho!

Terrorist via Shutterstock (with Xmas hat thrown on)

Terrorist via Shutterstock (with Xmas hat thrown on)

From the WSJ:

The House Republican plan to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks would permanently ban the Treasury Department from using extraordinary measures to avoid default, congressional aides said.

The provision would ban practices, used by Democratic and Republican administrations for decades, which have effectively allowed the Treasury to limit investments in pensions and other funds when the government bumps up against its borrowing limit. These steps have extended the time that Treasury can continue borrowing and paying the nation’s bills while Congress debates terms for raising the debt ceiling.
(…)
Even though the steps are called “emergency” measures, they have become employed so routinely during recent fiscal standoffs that Congress often waits for the emergency steps to be exhausted before beginning negotiations on raising the borrowing limit.

For example, last May 2011, we were about to hit the debt ceiling at current spending levels (even including the cuts in place at the time). So the Treasury department did what it’s done in the past whenever the debt ceiling looked like it was coming on: First it stops discretionary spending. Companies sub-contracting to the government have their payments delayed. Then it delays pension contributions and so on. Bond sales might be rescheduled. By doing this, the U.S. didn’t default at the end of May 2011, but instead was able to limp along until August — the last time the GOP took their debt-default hostages.

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This time, it also began in May 2013, but the gov’t was able to hang on longer because the deficit is smaller (yes, really) and revenues are higher. But again, if the Treasury department hadn’t acted, the default probably would’ve hit in June.

So now the demand is the hostages need to offer themselves up earlier and more willingly, and the cops need to promise not to attempt a rescue — in exchange for six more weeks of not being offed by the kidnappers.

What’s not known at this time is whether the White House and Senate Dems will go along with this. My guess is with the poison pill, they won’t.

They really can’t help themselves, can they?

Update: So far, the answer appears to be “No.” The President has been insisting that ending the government shutdown be part of any debt ceiling deal, even if it’s just temporary. And it’s also clear they won’t swallow the House GOP’s demand the Treasury be completely dis-empowered to deal with budget crises in the future, although they may compromise on some details.


Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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39 Responses to “New GOP debt ceiling offer: We’ll put off shooting the hostages til Christmas”

  1. Chef Kowalski says:

    Don’t let the Tea Partyists do their Christmas shafting early!

  2. karmanot says:

    A bit like Marcus Bachman buying a PhD for a few online courses and setting up shop as a therapist.

  3. Whitewitch says:

    Or better a comparison with Wrestlers…you know all mouth and blather and they already know who is taking the fall.

  4. Whitewitch says:

    Sadly Bill – I think they do indeed lack the will and conviction to step up and do what is right. I am ever hopeful though and would love to be proven wrong.

  5. Whitewitch says:

    I have one message for the President, Stand Tall on this one. Don’t fall for the “poison pill”. The Republicans NEVER give anything without some sleazy hidden agenda. Ruin the holidays by having this stupid crap drag on and on…just don’t bite Mr. President. They are going to have to back down soon enough, now that the Koch Brothers are worried that it might damage their investments…they have given the order to “wrap it up” and move on. Stand Tall Sir…Stand Tall.

  6. Outspoken1 says:

    Because when the government is shut down, there is no tax or fine collection!

  7. Outspoken1 says:

    Because when the government is shut down, there is no tax or fine collection!

  8. fletcher says:

    For some Tea Party people, you could cut off their heads and they could still live what for them are normal lives. They see and hear nothing of the real world of working people and haven’t used their brains in years.

  9. Naja pallida says:

    Anyone who thinks a government shut down is a good thing, in any way, simply doesn’t understand the role of government in general, what government does in the United States. There isn’t a single person in this country who doesn’t benefit from government services on a daily basis, unless maybe if you’re living in a cabin off in the woods of Montana or something like that. Government is heavily entwined in everyone’s daily life, and the idea that we could suddenly cut off government and everyone would be ‘free’ is childish, at best.

    This whole shut down is basically like the five year old who doesn’t get the sugary cereal at Wal-Mart so decides to ‘run away from home’ and hide in the attic for a day, while his parents panic. Eventually, he comes out because he gets hungry, cold, and scared. But really, there was absolutely no thought process put into it at all, and it couldn’t have hoped to be successful in getting what he wanted in the first place.

  10. Chef Kowalski says:

    So what you are saying is that when Rand Paul talks about freedom he is really saying free dumb, which at any price is costly.

  11. humbug311 says:

    I’m not convinced (and I am sure the Republicans don’t think) that the electorate is going to remember the shutdown by the time of the next Presidential election, and a whole helluva lot is going to happen between now and then that will be more on people’s minds in November 2016. Recent gerrymandering means many Republicans have absolutely no concern at all about midterm elections, and frankly I think others are still more concerned with being primaried by other Republicans farther to the right, rather than losing the general to a Democratic candidate.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    I wouldn’t listen to Rand Paul on opthalmology. Two malpractice suits and he’s only licensed by a medical board that he himself helped create, which is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Would you trust your vision to a guy who, instead of going through the proper and nationally accepted channels, decided it would be better for to just approve his own qualifications?

    Assad went to school in the UK for his opthalmologic specialty in 1992, and was recalled back to the Syrian military in 1994. So I can’t imagine he ever actually spent any time as a practicing physician in the specialty. Not sure I’d really trust him with your vision either. The whole sociopathic dictator thing aside.

  13. lynchie says:

    Agreed but voters on the whole have a short memory. If the Dems want to get re elected and they want to gain the Presidency and the House they need to start acting like the left. I think there are more independents because the dems usually going right after the election. But my point is nothing has changed on the right in fact I think they are more entrenched than ever as far as the polling everyone has an opinion and the only thing that counts is how they vote not how the answer a pollster. What baffles me is when the GOP piss off women, minorities, the LBGT group and try to cut SS and Medicare they still have some of these same people voting for them. Like kicking them in the balls and when they can finally speak saying “thank you I will have another”.

  14. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Yes, but independents and swing voters are needed to win a Presidential election.

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  16. lynchie says:

    polls don’t mean shit. Ask the republican voters if they will vote republican next election they will all say yes.

  17. lynchie says:

    No one gets that we need to increase revenue not lower it. Go back to the tax rate during the Clinton years as a start. As a country we have bridges and roads to repair and the rich refuse to pay for it. I would say i am not fond of taxes but like property taxes I pay them gladly and help pay school taxes for families starting out just as someone did for me. Time to have an adult conversation on how and why the government exists. Anyone not liking it I will get some friends and come pack your things so you can move out of the country, however you don’t get to take your wealth with you. Just your clothes and furnishings. What is strange is that too many people and all of the Congress have forgotten that revenues need to exceed payouts so we can get rid of the deficit, not cut all spending so the 1% get to keep their dough and the rest, we shit you can walk to work or ride a mule you don’t need no stinking roads.

  18. Indigo says:

    It’s clear that Reason does not prevail in this issue. Sitting it out is both unpleasant and unavoidable. Here in Florida, when hurricanes approach, many take the traditional response to “hunker down.” And that’s what this Shutdown is all about. Hunker down, it’s going to be a while.

  19. BeccaM says:

    In Rand Paul’s world, there is no military to pay for, no Social Security or Medicare payments, no air traffic controllers, no money spent to keep the capital buildings open, with utilities running, no disaster aid, no farmers’ subsidies — indeed, no federal expenditures at all.

    And let’s not forget those who COLLECT and tabulate the incoming revenues. Their salaries also cost money. Which as ever the Republicans think comes for free.

  20. benb says:

    Q: What does Rand Paul have in common with Bashir Assad?

    A: They’re both opthamologists.

    That’s cool…yeah…for eye stuff I’d listen to them. For Economics or how to govern—I raise the bar. Firefighters know how to fight fires; everyone else just thinks they know. Rand Paul just thinks he knows.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    Democratsare the right wing. So are Republicans. Democrats are more dangerous because they control the White House.

  22. pappyvet says:

    I have often compared the two with baseball teams who talk tough with one another on the field but are blood brothers in the back room where the money is discussed.
    That being said, I will continue to vote and vote against the rightwing. Why?
    It’s simple really. The Earth is older than 6000 years,climate change is real, my gay does not need to be cured, and I do not believe that decades of hate speak bode well for our future should the wingnuts gain absolute authority.
    Bill, I am with you on the monetary points with no doubt. When 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth,you no longer have democracy. We fought a revolution against the “by your leave” crowd once and I fear it may come to that again.
    But for pure hatred and eliminationist mythology, keep your eyes on the rightwing.

  23. Hue-Man says:

    “I think it’s irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk
    about default. There’s no reason for us to default. We bring in $250
    billion in taxes every month. Our interest payment is $20 billion. Tell
    me why we would ever default.” – (GOP) Senator Rand Paul, October 6, 2013. http://www.factcheck.org/2013/10/defining-default/

    Do the hostage-takers even talk to each other?

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    “We do not negotiate with terrorists.” No one should but Democrats do, and on a regular basis.

    That’s why Obama and Pelosi twice agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and why they and Reid embrace union busting and want to impose austerity on those benefiting from Social Security and Medicare.

    The fight between Republicans and Democrats over Obamacare, which is essentially Romneycare, is absurd and will only hurt working people. Both parties are unfit to govern.

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment “Section 4. 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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

    It could be used but Democrats lack the will to challenge Republicans because they’re the same party. “There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt — until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.” Gore Vidal

  26. Mark_in_MN says:

    Yep, all while refusing to give up their blind ideology and pretending not to notice such stunning hypocrisy.

  27. JayRandal says:

    If Obama caves to GOPers demands then he should tender his resignation as President. Obama
    has option to raise debt limit and pay debts according to 14th Amendment of Constitution. He does
    NOT have to negotiate with GOP terrorists. If he caves then resign in disgrace and move to Hawaii.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    The solution to the debt and deficit crisis is easy, unless you’re a Democrat or a Republican, in which case there are no solutions.

    During the Truman and Eisenhower administrations the tax rate on the rich was high, in some cases 90%. “Under … Bush, the maximum capital gains tax rate was 15.35 percent. The highest capital gains tax rate in U.S. history was put in place under Woodrow Wilson’s presidency during World War I, when it was as high as 73 percent, according to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. … The highest rate for regular marginal income tax in the twentieth century was instated under Franklin D. Roosevelt toward the end of World War II at 94 percent. A marginal income tax of over 90 percent for top earners lasted well beyond the end of the war.” http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/eisenhower-obama-wealthy-americans-mitt-romney-pay-taxes/story?id=15387862

    The deficit could be eliminated along with mass unemployment if we taxed annual income from any and all sources (except for housing for workers when they sell or deed their homes) at the rate of 100% for amounts over $250,000.00. (and we’d want a law confiscating all the wealth of those who try to hide it overseas or who renounce their citizenship to pay lower taxes.) And we’d also have to pass a constitutional amendment renouncing wars of aggression and laws stipulating mandatory capital punishment for those who lie and plot to start wars to benefit American and multinational businesses.

    The income raised could end unemployment with a massive, union organized Manhattan Project style effort to green the economy, pay for socialized medicine, guarantee good wages and benefits, pay for mass education all the way and for decent, interest free housing.

    Because they’e tawdry lap dogs of the rich, Democrats and Republicans can’t and won’t do that but a workers government in a workers state will.

  29. BeccaM says:

    Underneath it all is that some of the Tea Party types think a shutdown of the government is a good thing

    …all of whom will scream bloody murder as soon as it’s THEIR Social Security check that’s delayed, or their Medicare that’s repealed, or their farm subsidy that’s been rescinded, or their house that gets flooded because levees and dams aren’t being maintained, or their property that’s been stolen because there aren’t enough cops to go around anymore…

  30. Phil says:

    Now you’re talkin’! It’s really hard to find a decent tumbrel nowadays, but a hay wagon will do the trick. Maybe we can borrow a guillotine from France. They haven’t used theirs since 1977. I just LOVE beheadings!!!!!

  31. pappyvet says:

    Hell no ! We do not negotiate with terrorists

  32. Indigo says:

    The Texas Chainsaw massacre? That strikes me as entirely suitable.

  33. Dave of the Jungle says:

    GOP approval polls continue to tank. Tea Party convinced they are right. News at 11:00

  34. Zorba says:

    I’ve got a hay wagon. Will that do in place of a tumbrel? No guillotine, but we have several very sharp axes. And two chain saws. ;-)

  35. Phil says:

    Time for the pitchforks and torches.

  36. Ty Morgan says:

    Dear President Obama: Tell the Republicans to piss off!

  37. dubwise says:

    I would like to observe that the wider world is getting nervous about all this. A US default, or even a high degree of uncertainty, means the entire global economy catches a cold too. The implications are very, very serious. I mean, do any of these idiots even know the names of any other countries?

  38. Mark_in_MN says:

    Underneath it all is that some of the Tea Party types think a shutdown of the government is a good thing that might show some people that the government really isn’t necessary (when it will tend to show the opposite), and would welcome a default because they think it would fulfill their Ayn Rand inspired fantasies of a social collapse that sweeps away all that they see as bad and wrong to let that nasty, irresponsible, nightmare world become a reality.

  39. eahopp says:

    How do they expect you to get uncrazy if you’re asleep all the time?

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