Don’t look now, but while we were all preoccupied with the payroll tax cut, presented by our ridiculous, dysfunctional Congress in the form of a flailing machete-and-chainsaw interpretive dance, the next bill has come due. Don’t worry, this one won’t hurt a bit:
President Obama will ask this week for a $ 1.2 trillion raise in the federal borrowing limit, according to a Treasury Department official. [...]
Lest the words “debt ceiling” spark panic over the possibility of another showdown with Congress that could bring the nation to the brink of default, fear not. The August debt deal provides for a $ 1.2 trillion increase that can be blocked only if Congress passes a “resolution of disapproval.”
This is part of the same debt ceiling deal that brought us the SuperCongress; Republicans agreed to raise the debt limit only in installments, thereby giving themselves a chance to preen for the cameras several times, instead of just once. So Obama will request the debt ceiling be raised again; the House of Representatives will have what is termed, in legislative circles, a gigantic whining hissy fit, Obama will then veto the Resolution of Gigantic Whining Hissy Fit (if it even makes it out of the Senate, which almost assuredly won’t even bother with it); the debt ceiling automatically gets raised, and life goes on.
In a bold stroke of parenting, however, Obama may have even deprived the House of their opportunity for televised hissy fit:
If Obama announces his position this week, Congress would have to vote on a disapproval resolution by Jan. 12 at the earliest.
But the House isn’t scheduled to return to the Capitol until Jan. 17, and the Senate doesn’t return until Jan. 23.
The odds that John Boehner will summon the House back from vacation early just so they can vote on whether to have a hissy fit are probably low: I suspect Boehner is not feeling terribly enamored with his House or their hissy fits right now, after getting so thoroughly burned in the payroll tax cut debacle. So in all likelihood they won’t even schedule their hissy fit until a few days after it’s already turned pointless.