Opinion | Politics

Mark Trahant: House Republicans shuffling the deck on debt

"House Republicans are expected to vote later today on a plan to “suspend” the debt ceiling (instead of raising it by a set amount).

The bill, H.R. 325, says the debt ceiling limit will not apply between the date of the enactment until May 18, 2013.

But the bill also requires Congress to pass a budget by April 15, 2013, or the members’ salaries will be deposited “in an escrow account” until one does pass. This sounds reasonable. Except there is a huge divide between the House and the Senate over what kind of budget to move forward. And, even in the Senate, it will be difficult to get a majority on board.

This bill probably has the votes. Many conservative groups have come out and supported the idea. Sort of. The main reason is that this approach (unlike previous austerity efforts) has a strategy behind it. The idea is to shuffle the deck, and move up the fight over spending cuts (leaving the debt ceiling fight until after a resolution)."

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Debt ceiling ‘suspension’ makes severe spending cuts even more likely (Mark Trahant 1/23)

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