The Biden Administration - the first 1,500 days [NOT an Afghanistan discussion]

That may be what ends up happening, but the Democrats would (rightly) prefer not to use a convoluted process that’s never been used before for the debt limit (which has always passed through regular order). They’d like the Republicans to do what the Democrats have always done – not stand in the way to continuing the good faith and credit of the US. In other words, they’re fighting against legislative hostage taking.

But we’ll see if it works. This may just be what happens going forward – Republicans never cooperate to raise the debt limit under a Democratic president, and the Democrats have to scramble through reconciliation each time. If so, I hope they use reconciliation to raise the debt limit to a few quadrillion dollars.

Any Republican with morals wouldn’t go within a mile of that monstrosity of a bill, or enable its passing in any way. Republicans are going to go to the mat to stop it. And they should, within the rules of the House and Senate. Just as the Democrats would if the Republicans were trying to ram through something Democratic constituents truly hated with a zero-vote margin.

To the extent that Republicans can have any effect at all, it is good reason why such sweeping change should not be tried without a mndate and a healthy edge in votes. This was always an unforced error caused by Democratic overreach.

It’s like this. To do a reconciliation bill that raises the debt limit, Congress must have already passed a budget resolution with specific instructions to change the debt limit in reconciliation. The FY2022 budget resolution passed in early September did not include those instructions, which is what DeadTreasSecretaries called the Democratic party’s “strategic mistake” upthread. You would have to ask Bernie Sanders why, that resolution was his baby. I’m sure some bozo(s) in the party forced him to drop the debt ceiling instructions, possibly Joe Manchin with his “we can work with Republicans!”.

Now, it is theoretically possible to revise the budget resolution, but that requires approval of the Senate Budget Committee which is currently split 11D-11R. Senate rules (according to the parliamentarian) let you bypass the budget committee for the original budget resolution, but not revisions. So Republicans do not need to filibuster a potential reconciliation bill that raises the debt ceiling, they have the raw votes to hold it up in the budget committee.


It’s no surprise that Democrata always cooperate when government wants to raise the debt ceiling, because they always want the debt raised.

Why would Republicans want to raise the debt limit by the amount required to cover the new spending if they don’t agree with the spending? Why would they make it easier to pass that giant spending bill,they think would be disastrous for the country?

Now, in reality Republicans like big government almost as much as Democrats these days. But their ‘brand’ is that they go to Washington to hold the line on big government. Buncha hypocrites, but it’s on brand for them to go theough the motions to hold back the reins.

This isn’t raising the limit to cover Democratic programs - it’s raising the limit to cover Trump spending. The alternative is default. This isn’t covering any new spending - it’s paying the bills on the stuff we already bought. There’s no justification for the Republicans to make this so difficult and dangerous.

They would need to pass an amended budget resolution out of the Senate Budget Committee, which is tied 11-11. Assuming all Republicans vote against it, they would need to “discharge” the resolution, which takes time. Then they would need to pass the resolution through both chambers, which takes time. Then they would need to draft a reconciliation bill and pass it out of committee through the same procedure, which takes time. And pass the reconciliation through both chambers, which takes time. Meanwhile, we hit the debt limit in ten days.

Whereas Republicans could literally allow the debt limit increase to pass tomorrow by simply abandoning their filibuster. Since it’s already passed the House, it could be on the President’s desk that day.

I’m confused what else it could be. How could the Dems be gaining by walking into this crisis?

My guess is that there wasn’t a case of the Democrats getting into this with a specific motivation. I think it just didn’t occur to them that the GOP would fight on this and they didn’t either just stick it in the original reconciliation bill or get their ducks in a row on how they would respond if something happened.

We are hitting the debt ceiling regardless of the new spending in the infrastructure bills. The GOP is also openly admitting they think failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a terrible idea.

To clarify, those weren’t scare quotes.


Um…we’re still talking about increasing the debt limit, not the reconciliation bill. You know, the thing they have no problem suspending repeatedly when there’s a Republican in the White House. The Republicans are (again) playing politics with honoring the government’s commitments. Of course, this surprises no one, and the fact you’re still trying to defend it is laughable.

No, the Democrats cooperate because they believe in following through on the commitments the government has made. See: Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, put in place by Bush, and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, put in place by Trump.

I don’t understand how it was a “strategic mistake” (I’ll reinstate the scare quotes) for Democrats to proceed in raising the debt limit in the same manner in which it has been raised in every previous instance, under both Democratic and Republican majorities, going back decades.

The Republican attempt to insist that Democrats “own” the debt limit increase, which is necessitated in part by taxing and spending decisions that they made when they had unified control of government, is what has artificially created this crisis.

It was a strategic mistake to not put the debt ceiling in the budget resolution’s reconciliation instructions.


I guess I just don’t count failing to accommodate Republicans’ bottomless bad faith to be a “strategic mistake.” Republicans are trying to absolve themselves of the consequences of their own spending and taxing decisions. It’s not a mistake to refuse to go along with their cynical ploy to use the economy as a hostage to do so.

It would have been prudent to procure at least a promise from Republicans to support independent debt ceiling legislation before deciding to leave it out of the budget resolution. Failing to do so on the assumption that Republicans will sign on to something they want in good faith is an incompetent level of naiveté. (Remember the DREAM act?) That is partly why I suspect someone on the Democratic side may have actively worked to remove the debt instructions.


While with 20/20 hindsight it seems like this was at least the safest option, I don’t even necessarily think this was the mistake. I think the fundamental mistake was that they apparently didn’t anticipate that this would happen in the first place. I think they had other alternatives if they did anticipate this - they could have at least had this fight earlier so there wasn’t the necessity of the photo-finish that may occur in the next week to get a debt ceiling bill passed with reconciliation rules.

It was a strategic mistake in the sense that the GOP was capable of playing chicken with the economy like this and the Dems didn’t realize it and have a plan. Of course we shouldn’t live in a world where one party would pull this but we do and we’ve known this about the GOP for a while. And there was no actual option to not go along with the cynical ploy - if the GOP sticks to their guns the Dems are going to have to raise the debt ceiling alone one way or another.

You’ve made this assertion twice and this is why I asked why you didn’t think it was a strategic mistake. You seem to think some in the Dem caucus wanted this to happen. Why? What would they gain?

The most obvious interpretation is that they just didn’t realize a crisis was on the radar and are now scrambling to figure out what to do.

They should have, the Republicans showed their hand on this specific issue when the suspension ended (July I think?). It would be massive incompetence if they didn’t see the crisis coming.

July 21, 2021


I think we have different perspectives of what would be a “strategic mistake.” I think it would be a tremendous strategic mistake for Democrats to have preemptively acceded to the precedent that Republicans can run up the deficit whenever they’re in power and Democrats alone will bear the political pain of raising the debt ceiling to cover those decisions. It further poisons our politics, and creates yet another GOP alternate reality where Republicans bring their constituents tax cuts and new spending (I mean “critical investments”) while Democrats just want to run the country deeper and deeper into debt.

A democracy cannot hold where one party has consequence-free carte blanch to shower favored constituencies with the fruits of the public coffers. That’s how one-party states work.

“Procure a promise”?? Are you serious? By what means? McConnell has announced in word, deed, and attitude that he is going to block everything Biden tries to accomplish.

Eliminate the filibuster on the debt ceiling – make a precedent. That might be an avenue Democrats can take. There would still be a filibuster, but not for raising the debt ceiling - at least not as long as the Dems have control of the Senate.

There is already no filibuster on the debt ceiling under current rules per the parliamentarian.