“McConnell Provision” Redux

At WaPo Jonathan Capehart has drawn attention to the president’s pointed revival of the “McConnell Provision” as a procedure for resolving the debt limit impasse, and Greg Sargent has drawn attention to the possibility of Republicans going along.

The McConnell Provision, as you may recall, was a temporary procedure accompanying the 2011 debt limit agreement that enabled the president to increase the debt limit subject to a resolution of congressional disapproval (itself subject to a presidential veto). In effect it shifted the threshold for a debt limit increase favored by the president from a majority to one-third-plus of each House. Then as now it enabled Republicans to put the onus of the debt limit increase on Obama, and then gave them a safe way to vote against it.

If a significant number of congressional Republicans are willing to go along with an obscure method of disguising a skid-greasing exercise, it could work. With Democrats anxious to get a debt limit increase without major substantive concessions, it won’t take that many GOPers willing to play ball.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.