Is this a bad thing?
The New York Times whines, “Congressional gridlock brought on by far-right Republicans now seems more likely to lead to government shutdowns.”
The New York Times whines and tries to spin a government that spends less as a bad or even an evil thing.
The House speaker elections last week turned a typically routine government procedure into a dramatic affair. They also exposed a major vulnerability in Congress: A small segment of lawmakers can stop the process of basic governance to obtain what it wants, with potentially big ramifications for the country.
In the speaker fight, the immediate consequences were relatively small. A Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, is leading a majority-Republican House.
More critical is how Republicans got there. McCarthy made concessions that will weaken his power, make it easier for lawmakers to oust him and give the right-wing rank-and-file greater input in legislation and in lawmakers’ assignments to committees, where Congress does much of its work.
The graver consequences will unfold months from now if the ultraconservatives who prolonged the speaker selection again withhold their votes until they have their way on looming spending bills. Congress must pass such legislation to keep the government open and avoid economic calamity. If deadlines for these bills come and go without a resolution, the government could be forced to shut down or, worse, default on its debt obligations, likely triggering a financial crisis. (More on that later.)
The right flank has already connected its opposition to McCarthy to such spending bills. In speeches during the four-day speaker battle, far-right Republicans cited a $1.7 trillion spending bill Congress passed last month to argue that establishment figures, including McCarthy, have failed to reduce government spending. Among the concessions that ultraconservatives drew from McCarthy was a promise that any increase on the country’s debt limit, a congressionally set cap on the federal debt, will be paired with spending cuts.
Some hard-liners have been clear that they would take drastic action again to have their way on spending. “Is he willing to shut the government down rather than raise the debt ceiling? That’s a nonnegotiable item,” said Representative Ralph Norman, a Republican critic of McCarthy who ultimately voted for him.
The ultraconservatives have said that one of their main goals is to shrink the size of government. “If you don’t stop spending money that we don’t have to fund the bureaucracy that is undermining the American people, we cannot win,” said Representative Chip Roy, a Republican who voted against McCarthy in 11 ballots.
One way to achieve this goal is by pushing Congress toward inaction. Consider some of the assurances the holdout Republicans received from McCarthy: more time to read and debate legislation, as well as to propose unlimited changes to it.
In theory, these changes might sound like common sense, since legislators should, ideally, be taking time to understand and finalize bills. But in practice, these kinds of allowances have slowed Congress’s work, if not halted it altogether, by giving lawmakers more chances to stand in the way of any kind of legislation.
This roadblock is especially likely in a closely divided Congress. Since House Republicans have a slim majority of 222 votes out of 435, they must rely on their right-wing faction to reach a majority in any vote (absent unlikely support from Democrats). Last week, that faction showed it will wield its leverage.
“It’s all about the ability — empowering us to stop the machine in this town from doing what it does,” Roy said.
If the ultraconservatives use these tactics in future legislative debates, Congress could miss deadlines to keep the government open and avoid a financial crisis.
Among the looming fights is one over the debt limit. If the government ever reaches this limit, it can no longer borrow money to pay off its debts, potentially forcing a default. That could cause serious damage to the global financial system, which relies on U.S. Treasuries as a safe investment.
The government is expected to hit the current debt limit in late summer. Republicans have already suggested that they will try to use negotiations over raising it to draw spending concessions from Senate Democrats and the Biden administration, a tactic that conservatives used during Barack Obama’s presidency. But Democrats have said that they will not negotiate over the debt limit this time.
If both sides stick to their word, the government could be on track for the most treacherous debt-limit debate since 2011, my colleague Jim Tankersley reported. That year, Obama and a new Republican House majority nearly defaulted on the nation’s debt before reaching a deal.
(Read more Gerber-grade pabulum at the New York Times)
If this were a balanced review from a nonpartisan publication, this might be welcome
If the people at this paper were in any way balanced in their views, this news would be more acceptable. However, because they report for Democrats and only for the benefit of liberal policies (which continually ebb and flow), we can easily ignore this pabulum.
To prove my point, search the electronic pages of this paper for “ultra-liberals” or any term that discredits the theory of global warming (also known now as climate change). If you can find such within the past 10 years, I would be surprised.
On the other hand, I do believe that our economy might benefit from a reduction of deficit government spending and a suspension of a number of government programs. However, the problem with reducing that spending and suspending those programs with the current uneducated Democrat population and Democrat press remains at this: these events are like night breezes to the sleeping. They go unnoticed.
Not a whine, but a largely-ignored battle call
GOP rebels need to take the win
The Wall Street Journal produced a mirror-image article that noted the positives that may come from the stand-off between the two factions within the GOP.
And it makes it much harder for the House to tax and spend. It imposes a “cut go” rule — requiring any mandatory spending increases be offset with equal or greater mandatory spending cuts. A three-fifths supermajority vote will be required for tax increases. It revives what’s known as the “Holman rule,” allowing appropriations bills effectively to defund the salaries of specific executive-branch officials or specific programs. It also requires each committee to submit an oversight plan that lays out what action it intends to take on unauthorized or duplicative programs.
These changes will produce the first functioning House in years, even as they take the hand of spenders. Take the win!
(Read more at the Wall Street Journal)
Who can disagree with any of this?
Who can disagree with actions that may result in a lowering of the times the Federal Reserve has to raise rates?