Paul Ryan promotes his budget plan in 2011. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Was there a presidential election in 2012? Yes.
Who won? Barack Obama.
Who was elected vice president? Joe Biden.
Who lost for president? Mitt Romney.
Who lost for vice president? Paul Ryan.
Cool, just wanted to get that straight.
The latest scheme from House Republicans might have confused folks.
House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan are not quite done threatening a government shutdown as part of the “Defund Obamacare” debacle. But they are already on to their next project: holding hostage any agreement to allow the debt-ceiling to rise.
Traditionally, increases in the debt ceiling to pay for spending that has already been agreed to have been approved with little debate and less opposition. This is how the “full faith and credit of the United States” is maintained, and that’s not the sort of thing that serious political leaders on either side of the partisan divide want to turn into a political football.
But no one accuses Boehner and Cantor of being serious about anything but political games. So, in advance of the mid-October date when an adjustment will be required, they are advancing a new plan—already vetted by the lobbyists on K Street—that would exchange a one-year lifting of the debt ceiling for:
a one-year delay of Obamacare
means testing of Medicare and other so-called “entitlement reforms”
sweeping tax reforms
pro-corporate tort reforms, including limits on medical malpractice lawsuits
approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline
approval of offshore drilling
the undermining of regulations on business
moves that that likely to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
elimination of net neutrality protections for a free and open Internet
“The bill the Republicans propose to put on the floor this week is nothing but a wish list of unrelated and partisan policies they know won’t go anywhere. As a result they are taking their country’s credit hostage to their own small agenda,” House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, explained Wednesday.