Mickey, from the last episode of Left Coast/Right Coast, doling out advice on how Congressional Republicans should handle the trio of upcoming fiscal confrontations--the debt ceiling, sequester cuts, and the continuing resolution to keep the federal government running:
Here’s my brilliant solution for [Republicans], which is pass a bill that puts off the debt ceiling for a month – or a month and a half – so that it’s after the other two crises [the sequester and the continuing resolution to fund the federal government]. Then you cut the deal on the sequester crisis. Then you cut the deal where it’s easier, where Obama can’t say, “you’re taking our country’s credit rating hostage,” and the Republicans escape the blame for being these irresponsible crazies who want to take the country’s credit rating hostage. And you always hold out the threat that if Obama doesn’t cut a deal on cuts, then the credit rating crisis is down the road and maybe the public will be on your side. You pass that thing and then they’re happening in the order that you would prefer them to happen.
And this was more than two weeks ago, before this idea had taken hold in the mainstream. Today, it will pass into law (with a longer time horizon). From Reuters:
A measure to extend the U.S. debt limit for nearly four months moved closer on Tuesday to a vote and the White House said the president would sign the bill if it cleared Congress, easing uncertainty that could have threatened the U.S. economy.
The debt limit "suspension," which would allow the government to borrow money until May 19, is due to come to a vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday without amendments...
President Barack Obama "would not stand in the way of the bill becoming law," White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier at a briefing. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has similarly expressed approval.
The administration and some Democrats made clear on Tuesday they would prefer a longer-term reprieve from having again to seek an expansion of the nation's borrowing capacity. But the White House welcomed movement on the contentious issue, which has financial markets worried about a self-engineered U.S. debt default.
Not everyone thinks was such a brilliant tactical gambit, however. Here's how FreedomWorks' reaction, sent via e-mail this morning, begins:
This is simply amazing. Fresh off their epic defeat in the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal, House Republicans are once again preparing to surrender to President Obama’s irresponsible, irrational Progressive agenda. Instead of fighting for taxpayers, the House is set to give Obama a “clean” debt hike - meaning no spending cuts or reforms are included - in the next few hours. That’s a dirty way to run a country.
What do you think? A clever move by Congressional Republicans that allows them to have these upcoming debates on more comfortable ground? Or a sign of legislative spinelessness?