Government shutdown crisis continues without a solution

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Good morning:

I have been up all night composing this article about the failure of our Congress to increase our government’s debt limit. I conclude that the so-called financial crisis is not a real crisis and the Tea Party Republicans are financial terrorists generally committed to destroying our government and specifically committed to destroying Obamacare by blocking efforts to increase the deficit to fund it.

I followed events all day yesterday expecting Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell would reach an agreement late yesterday or today and the Senate would pass a bill substantially consistent with that agreement.

That did not happen because the House Republicans decided to meet and resume their effort to reach an agreement, an act that Reid and McConnell interpreted as a rejection of their efforts. Therefore, they decided to stop their effort.

The 271 House Republicans spent most of the day attempting to reach an agreement but ultimately could not agree to any of the bills under consideration. They finally gave up and cancelled a scheduled vote.

The New York Times described what happened.

By Tuesday afternoon, House Republican leaders were back with a new proposal to fund the government through Dec. 15, extend the debt ceiling into February and deprive not only lawmakers but all their staff members of employer assistance to buy their health care. By extending that provision to staff members, Republican leaders hoped to appeal to its far-right flank, but it angered more moderate Republicans and was not enough for the conservative hard core.

Complicating the speaker’s task, Heritage Action, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s political arm, which wields great influence with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party, opposed the plan.

“I think there’s always hope there can be a final package I can vote on, but this is not the one,” said Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, as he and two other Tea Party conservatives left the speaker’s office.

The major stumbling point preventing the Republicans from agreeing on a proposal was a disagreement regarding whether lawmakers and their staff members should pay the full cost of their health insurance premiums, unlike most workers at American companies, and how to restrict the administration from using flexibility to extend the debt limit beyond a fixed deadline.

Of course, this disagreement actually has nothing to do with the crisis, which is about raising the $16.7 trillion government debt limit. According to the Treasury Department, the federal government has approximately $35 billion in cash on hand and “expects to run out of “extraordinary measures” to keep on paying all of the government’s bills on Thursday, at which point outgoing payments might exceed that cash, plus any revenues, on any day going forward.”

After the House Republicans abandoned their effort to agree on a proposal, Harry Reid and Mitch McDonnell resumed their effort to agree on a bill to present to the Senate for a vote. A spokesperson for majority leader Reid announced that he was optimistic that he and Senator McConnell would soon reach an agreement. That has not happened as of 6 am, Central Daylight Time.

According to the National Journal,

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Senators were discussing a deal that would fund the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit until February 7. It would also create a bicameral conference to come to a long-term tax and spending plan, with a report due by December 13. The proposal would only touch Obamacare at the margins: tightening income-verification standards for people who receive subsidies and a possible one-year delay of the reinsurance tax, which is paid by employers.

Assuming they do reach an agreement and the Senate passes it, the House must still approve it.

Unless many of the Republicans in the House vote for the Senate bill, there is no way that the House will pass it.

I believe the goal of the Tea Party Republicans is to shut down the federal government indefinitely. I do not believe they are negotiating in good faith and I predict Thursday will come and go without an agreement to raise the debt limit. According to Mother Jones, for example, Tea Party Republicans were pushing to add an anti-abortion birth-control provision to the debt ceiling deal. The provision would permit all private sector employers who pay for employee health insurance to refuse to cover the cost of birth control.

Injecting a contentious irrelevant issue at the last minute into a bitter debate on increasing the debt ceiling to avoid forcing the government to default on its financial obligations only serves to derail legitimate debate. I consider it to be an act of financial terrorism.

Assuming the Congress fails to pass a bill increasing the debt limit, President Obama should end the shutdown, order all federal employees back to work, and direct the Treasury to pay all of its financial obligations when they come due. This would include issuing checks to government employees with full backpay.

The United States does not have to borrow money because it issues its own currency and the dollar is the world’s preferred currency. Issuing new currency does not require printing new money. It can be accomplished by the Federal Reserve throwing a few switches to credit the Treasury.

In fact, the debt-limit statute is unnecessary and should be abolished. With the exception of Denmark, the United States is the only nation in the world with such a statute. There is a good reason why other nations do not have such a statute.

Nations create budgets for each fiscal year and when they do, they consider national debt as well as the amount budgeted. When our Congress passes a budget, it should be presumed to have authorized paying for everything in the budget. That is the procedure followed by every other nation, except Denmark.

Put another way, the Congress should not be permitted to shut down the federal government because it refuses to increase the nation’s debt to fund the federal budget that it passed. For example, Congress should not be permitted to use the debt limit statute to prevent funding Obamacare, a program that Congress considered and approved.

That is why the Congress has routinely approved every request to increase the national debt for many years with the notable exception of the Republicans once during the Clinton administration and again during the Obama administration.

It is long past time to call-out the Tea Party Republicans for what they are: a group of financial terrorists committed to destroying our national government.

52 Responses to Government shutdown crisis continues without a solution

  1. Mary Davis says:

    Did y’all see how fox news completely turned the presidents speech around?. That’s our good ole media for ya.

  2. Peni4yothot says:

    Cecelia, IIRC; what insurance in the past has paid for any treatment unapproved by AMA and FDA?

  3. Malisha says:

    This charade is hiding something that is going on — this is like the charade that took place in 1999 with “Monica Lewinsky” front and center and everybody talking about oral sex in the oval office rather than working on governing the country. They were hiding something. TOGETHER. They put on public theater to get everyone’s attention — oldest trick in the book — and while we “look here, the government is closing down!” — they pull off something that we would have prevented if we were paying attention.

    I can no longer think of this as being a “Dems versus Repugs” thing; they are play-acting together to throw us all down some newly renovated sewer.

  4. Kelly Payne says:

    The bill to reopen government and raise the debt limit has passed both houses of congress. It now goes to the president.

  5. crazy1946 says:

    Perhaps the GOP/TP has suddenly realized that they are in deep trouble and have reached an agreement to re-open the government, if only for a short while! The vote has not take place yet, but odds are that the agreement will pass… Isn’t it strange that only after the Koch Bro’s stepped in that an effort was begun to resolve the problem? Could anyone now actually not realize who the true owners of the GOP/TP are? Just think, we get to go thru all this again come January 2014! Just kicked the can down the road hoping that the public will forget all about the stupidity of their party and all will be instantly forgiven… I’ll make a prediction (I seldom do this about political positions) both the turtle and the orange man lose not only their positions in their respective chambers, but their elected positions as well!

  6. Two sides to a story says:

    Off-topic, but a new judicial memo to the Fogen case file :

    • Malisha says:

      So — wait a minute. Nelson recused on October 11 this year?
      What’s THAT about, did the bribe expire?

      • bettykath says:

        Nelson did not recuse. Motion is from the bond hearing. The judge of the bond hearing recused himself and referred it to Judge Nelson who took over the case.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Sounds like leftover business from Lester. Some Fogen supporters are still hoping that OM will file a motion for sanctions against the prosecution or that Nelson will pick up where she left off, but I don’t know if this note has anything to do with that issue. They seem to think it does.

  7. Girlp says:

    Oh, and THERE IS NO BIOCHIP, where are people getting this BS from?

  8. Girlp says:

    More right-wing rhetoric. Try paying a 89,000 hospital bill on $12.00 an hour for emergency surgury and a weeks stay in the hospital with 3 days in ICU. Then have to attempt to buy expensive meds on top of that. Those cost are passed on to you and your kids.

  9. ed nelson says:

    Somewhere in there, is a greed factor. Weaken government to make available for plunder, not just the everday stuff… of yore, like the profiterring and established… Spoils systems, but one end game one time rip off of what is called “The Commons” National Parklands!!! Bridges/ infrastrucure, and you know, like what is happening over in Greece.

    “It Can Happen Here”, if you let the Koch Roaches Breed like… Flies?!

    • ed nelson says:

      Hi Fred, what a great meeting place this is!

      If you got lucky, somebody might make a generick comment, even if it might be antagonistic.

      What a great new ”meeting place” for our axis Y negative Bell C folks…!

      I hope I get hell for this one!!

  10. You are spewing right-wing hate-machine nonsense that is not supported by any evidence.

  11. bettykath says:

    I don’t know that either sedition or espionage apply. Treason, yes. Sedition is speaking out in opposition to the government. While these folks are speaking out in opposition to the government, the Sedition part of the Espionage Act was repealed. It’s also contrary to the First Amendment to the Constitution, the right of free speech. Espionage is spying to the advantage of a foreign government.

    Treason is taking action to hurt your own government. Since their actions work to enact their stated purpose of shutting down the government indefinitely, it sure looks like treason to me. But politically it’s unlikely to go any where. Can you hear the hew and cry if the Obama DoJ were make such charges?

  12. bettykath says:

    Thanks for the update. A few points.

    1. “The United States does not have to borrow money because it issues its own currency and the dollar is the world’s preferred currency. Issuing new currency does not require printing new money. It can be accomplished by the Federal Reserve throwing a few switches to credit the Treasury.”

    Our money is printed by the Fed, a corporation chartered by Congress and made up of regional banks and a governing board. It prints Federal Reserve Notes, not US Treasury bills. The Fed decides whether or not to print money and what interest rate will be charged for its loans to banks and corporations, including those in serious financial trouble. (Consider the $16 Trillion that it printed and sent to foreign financial institutions based on its own decision, not the US Treasury.) Reports of all loans made on an emergency basis are to be reported to an oversight committee in the House, but the decision to loan or not, is what the Fed does. Any losses that the Fed incurs from these loans is made good by the US Treasury/tax payers. Does the US Treasury/ taxpayers get the interest (profit) from the loans? The Fed buys Treasury securities ($40Billion/year) and reinvests the capital, presumably making a profit from the interest the Treasury pays and from its investments. John Kennedy wanted to get rid of the Fed. He actually had the Treasury print some US money. The Fed didn’t like this.

    2. Rachel Maddow provided a segment on a similar “crisis” during Carter’s administration. While we were focused on the Three Mile Island nuke disaster, the Republicans threatened to shut the government down. An accord was reached two days before the deadline. It still cost billions b/c the payments to the bond holders were late.

    3. Ted Cruz is providing direction to the Tea Party Congress people. While the Republican whip was trying to round up the votes for the vote that was finally called off, he found 20 of these folks in a motel with Cruz giving them pep talk to hang tough. The idea of a member of the Senate interfering with the House members of his party is unprecedented, or at least this is the first time it’s been so blatant.

    What’s so disgusting is that while these guys want to get rid of “big guvmnt”, they also are getting big payouts from the special “entitlements” provided to various businesses.

    • colin black says:

      I don’t drive a fiat car an don’t trust fiat monetary hoolahoops.

      When the people you entrust your hard earned promisery notes
      to simply look after an earn a pittance of intrest .
      Loan your money out at extortionate intrest rate,

      You expect a minimum of trust with simple look afyter my money keep it safe in your stonking big safes.

      Not to find out they have been doing the equivalent of those plate spinners at circus an kids shows running here there an every where spinning the plates speed them up so they don’t fall.

      This companys returns are crashing an wobbling quick massive influx of others peoples cash to speed the market up.

      An more an more poles they had spinning with our hard earnes wibble wobble here but it wont fall down?

      Theres only one word to describe them fucking bankers!

  13. lurker says:

    Ted Cruz has some interesting roots:

    Christian Dominionism is an extremist (some might even say heretical) offshoot that believes that a religious reconstruction of the US is a preliminary step to the Second Coming of Christ. Michelle Bachman recently was quoted as publically saying that she rejoices in the signs that she sees of the End Times (sorry to say, her “signs”–which include her understanding that Obama is funding Muslim Terrorists, are false). Like Creationists, flat worlders, birthers ands global warming deniers, there is no logic to their beliefs–simply profound, albeit misguided, faith.

    Ted Cruz’ father is a Dominionist pastor, and he has the support of a gaggle of others. Recall that a gathering of such folks gathered to bless the candidacies of both Rick Perry and Sarah Palin.

    Yes, some of these folks actually believe that they have a religious obligation to lead our government toi crash and burn.

    • Deborah Moore says:

      Sarah Palin? Did you see/hear her most recent embarrassment? She said Letting the government default is an impeachable act.
      I thought the congress was responsible for that.
      I have a name for her, but I won’t pollute Fred’s Blog with that kind of language.
      (I’ll keep it in my livingroom.)

      • MDH says:

        Peter Tosh recorded a song about Sarah Palin:

      • MDH says:

        Peter Tosh got started in his career singing a song that seems to apply to the Palin family:

      • lurker says:

        Deborah, I saw that. In fact it was an interesting statement. Basically she said that if the President couldn’t prevent the default he could be impeached. However, she also said that if he acted without Congress to prevent default (as some have suggested that he could), this would also be impeachable. In essence, if she is paying attention to what she says (dubious, I know) she is describing a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario under which Congress could force an impeachable action on the Prez.

    • Girlp says:

      These people are bat shit crazy….they sound like something out of a horror movie, I expect a human sacrafice next.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Batshit crazy and I’ll be SO glad when this type of religious extremism toying around in government is a thing of the past.

  14. looneydoone says:

    ALL of the House GOPTP’s are “Christian Reconstructionists”/Dominionists. They , and their followers want to destroy the “ungodly” US government and replace it with a Christian fundamentalist Biblical law theocracy. They are wild eyed, and dangerous. Arrest them and prosecute them for sedition !

  15. Malisha says:

    The bill was passed by Congress and then the US Supreme Court heard a challenge to its constitutionality and it passed there too. So since it was created in the Executive Branch, voted into existence by the Legislative Branch, and then approved by the Judicia Branch, I fail to see the problem with governmental “support” by means of funding it. Hello …

    • Thank you for this Malisha! Many people don’t know how our government works in re: the disparate constitutional duties of the three branches of government.

      One of the first pamphlets I got when I entered law school was a copy of the Constitution. One of the items on my bucket list is to find an endowment to fund giving EVERY US citizen a copy of it to read and hold a discussion about it.

  16. Two sides to a story says:

    Rachel Maddow went on record calling the Tea Party actions sedition. Let’s add treason to the list.

  17. crazy1946 says:


    ” and if treatments AREN’T FDA approved insurance is DENYING treatment.”

    You make that comment after allegedly reading the ACA? Have you by chance actually read your current insurance policy where the same conditions are attached? It would be good if you would not use the same old non truthful talking points. If you don’t like the program set up, then fine, just be truthful about the reason and base that dislike upon truth and not talking points that have been taken out of context based on political motives…..

    • Deborah Moore says:

      Sic, ’em, Crazy.
      (And, you joke that you live under a rock. Not so. But, apparently there are some folks still sucking gravel.)

  18. MDH says:

    [yoo-surp, -zurp] Show IPA

    verb (used with object)
    to seize and hold (a position, office, power, etc.) by force or without legal right: The pretender tried to usurp the throne.

    to use without authority or right; employ wrongfully: The magazine usurped copyrighted material.

    verb (used without object)
    to commit forcible or illegal seizure of an office, power, etc.; encroach

    Obama won the election by getting a majority of the popular vote in the nation and in enough individual states to win a majority of the Electoral College.

    How did Obama illegally seize power?

    The House has a majority of Republicans although Democrats received a million more votes in aggregate. This was due to Gerrymandering of district boundaries that, although ostensibly legal, is unethical.

    The Senate, because they are elected by a total vote of an individual state, has a Democratic majority.

    To repeal the ACA, one must get a majority vote in the House and Senate; and pass the bill to the President for signing.

    Repealing the ACA was a key issue that the Republicans ran on in 2012. In all of the elections for President, House and Senate, the Republicans got less votes. So in the sense of a simple Democracy, repealing the ACA was not the will of the people.

    If anything, I submit that a Republican House that got less than a majority of votes, but relied on Gerrymandering, now holding our economy hostage is closer to usurping power than Obama.

    If this law is so bad, I am sure that the House and Senate will be 60% Republican in 2014. At that point, repealing the ACA should be easy, correct?

  19. MDH says:

    Rush Limbaugh: “I want him to fail”.

    What we have is a bunch of racists who realize the following:

    Once the ACA gets up an running, all the lies they told about it will be revealed and, over time, it will be seen as once of Obama’s achievements.

    Austerity is moron-economics that actually hinders and economic recovery. For example, if the government had not been shut down and there is no debt default, then economic growth and the DOW would go up significantly, thus making Obama look good.

    So more austerity via a shutdown and a debt default will kill the economy with the hope that they can blame it on Obama.

    The crisis resulting from the above might also cause a defunding of the ACA.

    The problem with their petulant race fantasy self fuc*-fest, is that large corporations depend on economic growth and a healthy DOW for their survival.

    I expect that these tea baggers will get a back lash from corporatists. Like them or not, corporatists make money by providing real products that are consumed by real people.

    Moving up the ladder does require hard work, getting a real education, and talent. It is a far cry from being a petulant lazy man like Limblob who cons insecure men to make money by producing a product of hate that actually detracts from the value of our nation.

    Can you imagine how the CEOs of Ford and Toyota will feel when they start losing money because a bunch of “children” can’t accept that a black man can “succeed”?

    Unlike, con men gold shills that seem to plague FOX TV, these CEOS and those under them have worked hard to make their industry more efficient and profitable in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Depression.

    In short, the Tea Baggers are traitors who would sink our ship of state because they can not accept that a democracy must answer to the will of ALL the people.

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