By Robert A. Vella
With the political pressure heating up from Big Business to avoid a catastrophic financial default of the federal government, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have come up with a new plan to delay a debt ceiling crisis – due to strike on or around October 17th – while continuing the current government shutdown in order to appease its fanatical Tea Party base.
From: Government shutdown: Republicans offer plan to postpone default
WASHINGTON— Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a plan on Thursday that would postpone a possible U.S. default and urged President Barack Obama to negotiate an end to the 10-day government shutdown.
The move signaled a new willingness by Republicans to break a standoff of their own making that has thrown America’s future creditworthiness into question.
The White House said it would consider the offer.
The proposal is a significant shift for Republicans, who had hoped to use the disruption to extract concessions on spending and healthcare from President Barack Obama.
Those goals remain, but the Republican offer would at least push off the threat of default from October 17 until possibly the middle or end of November.
The Republican offer would not reopen the swaths of the government that have been closed since October 1. Republican leaders said they would discuss the matter with Obama at a White House meeting on Thursday.
Luke Russert reported today on MSNBC that the plan contains a provision that would preclude “extraordinary measures” by the Treasury Department to lift the debt ceiling in the event Congress fails to do so at the end of the proposed extension. I presume this is a reference to Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which guarantees the full faith and credit of the United States. Should President Obama be foolish enough to agree to that provision, it would likely remove the last legal option available for his administration to avoid a worldwide economic panic.
This new GOP strategy is not an honest attempt to resolve the current impasse. They are desperately playing a game of Whack-A-Mole, trying to put down every challenge raised by their dangerous assault on democratic governance. But, as time goes on, the number and size of the “moles” will only increase. Despite the illusion that Republicans have given up on defunding Obamacare, and a bizarre letter of apparent acquiescence from the Tea Party-funding Koch Brothers, the GOP’s goals remain the same. By refusing to end the government shutdown, they hope to use the leverage of a failing federal government to force President Obama into accepting their demands to destroy the Affordable Care Act and to drastically scale back or eliminate the programs (e.g. Social Security) which benefit the middle class and poor.
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