A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come Round Again

When writing the last post on how John Boehner is grappling with his conference on a debt limit increase, I hadn’t yet run across the latest brilliant idea from House Republicans, per The Hill‘s Wasson and Berman:

The House will vote as soon as Tuesday on forming a special committee of House and Senate members to work out a deal on reopening the government and raising the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, multiple GOP sources told The Hill.

The move is an attempt to highlight what the GOP sees as a refusal by Democrats to compromise in order to end the budget crisis. It also echoes the creation of a debt supercommittee to resolve the last debt ceiling impasse in 2011.

Yeah, that worked out well, didn’t it? Indeed, Rep. Xavier Becerra’s reaction takes the words right out of my mouth:

“Not again. Not again. Oh my gosh,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (R-Calif.) said.
Becerra, head of the House Democratic Caucus, was a member of the original supercommittee.

“There was nothing super about it,” he said.

If you can somehow ignore the White House’s repeated position that the president’s won’t agree to any conditions for a debit limit increase, as House Republicans insist on doing, I suppose it looks like a super way to kick various cans down the road, so long as the super-committee’s mandate is unrestricted. And some leading GOPers made a tiny if insincere effort to suggest it would be:

[Rep. Pete] Sessions emphasized that the GOP really would negotiate and appeared to say the GOP could be open to some tax revenue as part of a wide budget deal that could end the shutdown or debt ceiling.

Really? No.

A Sessions aide however later clarified Sessions is not open to new tax revenue.

All this dancing around is simply delaying the day when Republicans have to decide either to accept the president’s offer for “grand bargain” negotiations without the federal government or the economy serving as hostages, or take the country over the brink. A super committee isn’t going to obviate that choice.

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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.