Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Washington Examiner recaps GOP confrontation over budget, debt in visible print issue; more on McConnell Rule

The Washington Examiner, which has changed its business model to printing once a week, displayed a bold issue last week “Thunder on the Right”.  Ironically, there were free copies right outside Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City in Arlington.
A typical article now is a missive about Ted Cruz, here

There were many articles, the general tone of which was that using a shutdown and particularly a debt ceiling confrontation was the only practical way a “minority party” had to gain leverage against an authoritarian majority. 
The main argument against blaming the GOP for the shutdown seemed to be that the GOP sent separate bills up to open most of the government.  It’s true, in the past, appropriations and funding have often been split into many bills, so Harry Reid sounds wrong on this.
It is also true that the debt ceiling has been a low profile negotiating poker chip in the past.  That was before the Internet.  It simply is not acceptable for Congress to raise questions about making the cash available to Treasury to pay liabilities already incurred.  Only Congress can actually provide money, legally (oh, yes, there’s the 14th Amendment, maybe).
The biggest focus in Congress during the budget negotiations does need to be on reforming all entitlements, not just Obamacare.  And Congress should provide Social Security beneficiaries (present and future) with some legal ownership based on FICA taxes already paid, so that currently promised benefits can’t become cannon fodder for politicians. 

The Examiner has generally not seemed quite as conservative as The Washington Times


The New York Times has an editorial today saying that the "McConnell Rule" was used quietly to broker the debt ceiling extension last week, link here. The rule allows the president to raise the debt ceiling, and Congress gets a chance to disapprove, which the president could veto, requiring 2/3 votes in both houses.  The editorial links to a National Review interview with Mitch McConnell.  The the McCoinnell rule really "the law"? If so, why did we go through all this?

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