The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed yet another increase in the federal debt ceiling by a margin of 221-201. Of those 201 NO votes, 199 of them were Republican. Boehner only managed to coax 28 Republicans to go along with him in doing the dirty deed.
I like the take ZeroHedge had on the matter:
[…]Considering that the vast majority of Republicans voted against John Boehner’s latest “plan” to do the Democrats’ work for them, and pass a clean debt ceiling, perhaps it is time to look for a speaker who represents the interests of more than just a tiny fraction of the party… and the Democrats of course.[…]
I had mixed feelings about The Wall Street Journal’s take on the vote. They cheered the debt ceiling increase vote, but offered up this intriguing suggestion:
But Mr. Obama vowed after 2011 never again to let Congress use the debt limit to impose spending oversight, and he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have turned every borrowing-limit fight into another media-assisted episode of blame the GOP for risking a debt default. Republicans are never willing to shoot their debt-limit hostage, so the limit has now become Democratic leverage against Republicans. Why continue the pretense of fighting over a debt limit that doesn’t limit debt?
Before it created the debt ceiling in 1917, Congress had to vote to approve each new government bond issue, specifying the amount to be borrowed and the terms. This is in stark contrast to today’s practice, when Treasury is generally free to borrow at will until it hits the statutory borrowing limit. Congress could repeal the debt ceiling and go back to approving each new debt issue.
Returning to the pre-1917 practice might provide better negotiating leverage to limit taxes and spending. It would also make Congress again directly responsible for government borrowing, returning some political accountability for federal debt accumulation that hasn’t existed for nearly 100 years.
We realize this is precisely why Congress won’t do it. But wouldn’t it be nice to be free of more debt-ceiling melodrama that is designed to make voters think Washington cares about the debt but does nothing to reduce it?