TPM: The House passed a GOP bill suspending the debt ceiling until May 19 on Wednesday by a margin of 285 – 144. The bill now heads to the Senate.
The bill passed with a “majority of the majority.” 199 Republicans and 86 Democrats voted for the bill. 111 Democrats and 33 Republicans voted against passage.
By suspending the debt ceiling until May, there is effectively NO DEBT LIMIT between now and May 19 when the suspension expires. So the House Republicans must not be too terribly worried that the President will borrow a jillion trillion gazillion in 3 months’ time.
Ezra Klein thinks this is a great idea and we should do it forever.
Steve Benen explains the bigger picture:
Republicans had a bad hand and played it poorly. They threatened to crash the economy unless they got their way, but the White House simply didn’t believe the GOP was prepared to shoot the hostage. As quickly became clear, this assumption was correct — Republicans made threats they couldn’t back up, which made the cave that much more humiliating.
Yes, the resolution is temporary, and yes, the stage is still set for ugly fights on automatic sequestration cuts and keeping the government’s lights on. Time will tell how severe the looming standoffs become.
But the key takeaway today is pretty straightforward: Republicans said they were prepared to force the nation into default but they weren’t. When Obama didn’t budge, the GOP’s house of cards collapsed.
The New York Times explains the GOP’s “gimmick,” added to the bill:
The debt ceiling legislation — mindful of constitutional hurdles imposed by the 27th Amendment on Congressional pay — would simply impound lawmaker salaries until a budget is passed or the 113th Congress ends, whichever comes first. And it would not require the House and the Senate to come to a compromise on the two spending and tax blueprints, which are likely to be very different. That will be the really difficult task.
So in other words, the Republicans got nothing (except for adding the threat that they won’t pay themselves — temporarily — if they don’t come up with a budget). Or as Chuck Schumer gloated: “The president stared down the Republicans. They blinked.”