Tag: Debt Ceiling

Party of Government Threatens Government Shutdown


Things come to a head this week on Capitol Hill as Congress considers hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, reconciliation, the debt ceiling, and the tantalizing prospect of a government shutdown. Speaking of which, how awesome would a government shutdown be when every governing institution in Washington is controlled by the Party of Government™? Naturally Democrats would blame such an outcome on the minority party – would that Republicans were so competent!

At this point I half expect Pelosi to simply wash her hands and advise her coalition to vote their conscience – if any.

Join Jim and Greg as they give a small cheer to the White House Press Corps for being loudly ushered out of the Oval Office without being allowed to ask any questions. They also unload on the Biden administration for allowing hundreds of thousands of migrants into the country over the past several months through the catch and release approach, which means we’ll probably never find them again.  And they call out the anti-Semites in the House Democratic Caucus who forced the defunding of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense in order to pass a bill to keep the government open and to raise the debt ceiling.

GOP Fiscally Responsible Only with a Democrat in the White House


Budget 2018Republicans 2010: Elect us! We are the only true advocates of reducing federal spending and not raising the federal borrowing limit.

Republicans 2014: Elect us! The Republican-led House will enforce austerity measures against this free-spending President!

Republicans 2016: Elect us! We will be the voice of mounting public disgust against an irresponsible fiscal policy that has doubled the national debt in eight years!

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What to make of this:  In a surprising blow to his own party’s congressional leadership, the president on Wednesday struck a deal with Democrats to package nearly $8 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief with a three-month extension of government funding and increase in the debt ceiling. Trump agreed to the request by House Minority Leader […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America sigh as public squabbles between President Trump and GOP congressional leaders and members leaves us wondering if they will get anything consequential accomplished by the end of the year.  They also wince as terrible poll numbers for President Trump on several questions reflect what may be a rough road ahead for Republicans in 2018.  And they roll their eyes and unload on Hillary Clinton over her new book excerpts.

Pathway to a Balanced Budget Begins with a Fixed Debt Limit that Provides Flexibility


According to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-74), the current suspension of the debt ceiling expires at the end of the day Wednesday, March 15. Following this date, the US Treasury can avoid defaulting on the federal debt only by using “extraordinary measures.” Indeed, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin sent a letter to Speaker Ryan on March 8, stating that the Treasury will start using these measures on March 16. He also asked Congress address the matter in a way that avoids jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the US government. These measures (i.e., accounting steps) will most likely allow the federal government to make it to early fall before it runs up against a hard ceiling on the debt.

Suspension or No Suspension?

The first question facing Congress on the debt ceiling is whether to set a new debt ceiling or simply to extend the current suspension. What should Congress do? Without hesitation, I recommend that Congress set a new ceiling that aligns with the state of the art balance budget amendment that is being proposed by the States.

Short of eliminating the debt ceiling permanently, extending the current suspension is the most fiscally irresponsible act Congress can possibly take. Fiscal conservatives must recognize, however, that extending the suspension is the easiest thing for Congress to do. It serves to kick the can down the road on fixing the budget. The big spenders will argue that only raising the debt ceiling will still lead to a government shutdown or default on the government’s debt. The use of these scare tactics will be designed to precipitate a fight in Congress the big spenders will use to put in place a policy of permanent deficits and unending increases in the debt. Fiscal conservatives must be prepared to fight back.

Shoring up the Debt Ceiling Agreement: Terms of Credit Act Can Help


shutterstock_208794031There are two significant weaknesses in the recent debt ceiling agreement: 1) It departs from the balanced budget plan adopted earlier this year; and 2) it skirts the requirements of the budget process. The Terms of Credit Act drafted by the House Republican Study Committee can be used to address these weaknesses.

Congress and the Administration have reached an agreement that suspends the debt ceiling until March 2017, while increasing appropriated spending, restraining entitlement spending and taking steps to increase revenues. This agreement, within its confines, is an acceptable outcome for three reasons. First, it sets aside the risk of a breach of the debt ceiling or default by the federal government on its debt obligations. Either of these outcomes would have very likely shaken the confidence of markets in the “full faith and credit” of the federal government in a way that would have imposed serious damage on the economy. Second, it does not raise tax rates. Third, it sets a precedent for future steps to rein in out-of-control entitlement spending, thereby addressing the real cause of the fiscal crisis the federal government faces.

Outside the confines of the agreement, however, Congress must turn its attention to returning to the path to a balanced budget set by the budget resolution it approved earlier this year and restore the integrity of the budget process. The reason is that the debt ceiling agreement departs from the budget resolution. In fact, the Senate had to vote to waive the application of the Congressional Budget Act in order to permit the adoption of the bill to codify the agreement. Accordingly, it is essential that this departure from the budget resolution approved earlier this year and the budget process is only momentary.

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Fall: football, sweatshirts, burnt orange leaves, apple cider, and the debt ceiling. It’s the start of the 4th quarter and that means one thing – it is time for the bi annual meeting of the Rage Caucus and the Surrender Caucus over if/when/how/where/why to give the federal government more of our grandchildren’s money to spend. […]

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Debt Ceiling Drama, 2015 Edition


Sinking-dollar-debtDuring the fiscal year just ended September 30, the Federal Government collected $3,018,371,000,000.00 in taxes, an average of $251,530,920,000.00 per month, or $8,269,509,600.00 per day. Everywhere except Washington DC, that is real money.

Is it even conceivable that a supposedly fiscally responsible congressional majority could fathom a way to live within those means, given that they’re an all-time tax collection record in the history of our republic?

During the same fiscal year, Federal expenditures were $3,503,730,000,000.00, incurring a fiscal year deficit of $485,360,000,000.00, an admirably low number given recent history.

On the Debt Ceiling, Congress Should Keep It Simple


shutterstock_161578643In the coming days, the federal government will once again run up against the debt ceiling. In recent years, Congress has addressed the need to increase the debt ceiling by resorting to convoluted procedures to make it appear that it opposes increasing the ceiling, while actually enacting laws to do just that. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Congress adopted a procedure of increasing the debt ceiling, while making the increase subject to a later resolution of disapproval. The resolution of disapproval was not adopted. Subsequent to 2011, Congress has suspended the debt ceiling for set periods of time. The argument here is that suspending the debt ceiling does not mean increasing it. The numbers say otherwise, with the federal “debt subject to limit” now exceeding $18 trillion.

This time around, Congress should get back to basics and vote to enact a clean bill to increase the debt ceiling. It should do so by a reasonable amount in exchange for separate legislative actions, both substantive and procedural, that serve to rein in spending and achieve a balanced budget. The main reason for returning to a simple approach is that the debt ceiling is important tool for advancing the cause of federal fiscal responsibility, and the convoluted procedures incrementally weaken that tool. More specifically, the circumstances are now different and the convoluted procedures are no longer appropriate for four reasons.

The first reason is that Congress adopted a budget resolution earlier this year. During the years of the Budget Control Act debate and the suspension of the debt ceiling, Congress was failing to adopt budgets. Fiscal conservatives had little recourse but to use the debt ceiling to try to force the adoption of a responsible fiscal policy. The resulting budget negotiations over these policies imposed some fiscal discipline by imposing ceilings on most appropriated spending, backed by a tool of automatic across-the-board spending restraint on the applicable accounts called sequestration. The convoluted procedures for increasing the debt ceiling followed from complex negotiations stemming from the lack of formal budgets. With adoption of a budget blueprint for fiscal years 2016 through 2025, in the form of Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, Congress can now undertake simpler negotiations on matters of fiscal policy.