Creative Can-Kicking

Understanding that a restive press corps wanted something tangible to report after a three-day House Republican retreat, Eric Cantor announced the House would take up and pass a three-month increase in the debt limit. So does that mean they’d vote against a further increase in the debt limit if this new deadline comes and goes without the draconian spending cuts they keep demanding the president propose? Maybe not: the big demand at the moment is that the Senate pass a budget resolution, and the only Big Stick Cantor mentioned was a suspension of congressional pay.

It’s not entirely clear to me how the House can cut off pay for Senators. And the demand Cantor made primarily convinces me House Republicans are even more delusional about public interest in the congressional budget process than they are about Fast-and-Furious and Benghazi.

I guess this can-kicking does roughly align the debt limit expiration, the end of the “sequestration” delay, and the lapse in the continuing appropriations measure passed last year. So in theory it creates a Great Big Tripartite Crisis this spring. But Republicans still need to figure out what they are demanding from whom and when. A hostage-taker who’s not sure what ransom to ask isn’t usually real successful.

Support the Washington Monthly and get a FREE subscription

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.