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

I guess whether the call for whether a vote was proper would be by the Parliamentarian, wouldn’t it? If she says that cloture was needed and not invoked, then the call for a vote would be ruled improper.

Of course, her decision is only advisory, and can be ignored by the presiding officer. Which would lead to an objection and a call for a vote on the objection. So when the dust settles, the situation may well end up as per your scenario, but there are a lot of bridges to cross between here and there.

I don’t see how the Parliamentarian would be involved without a point of order, at which point the Chair may ask for her opinion. But I fail to see any grounds whatsoever to sustain such a point of order.

The scenario is, after the morning hour is concluded, the majority leader has moved that the Senate proceed to consider a debt bill (which is presumably already on the calendar), nobody seeks recognition, and the Chair calls for a vote on the motion.

~Max

Of course there is.

Seriously, I have no objection to correcting my misconception. What I’m gathering is that the “silent filibuster” is no more than a convenience brought about by the “two track” system, and breaking the two-track system would only require that Schumer not withdraw his motion to proceed?

Seems too easy somehow. Why hasn’t this been used before?

Yup, exactly. I wasn’t old enough to be cognizant of politics at the time, but there are articles pointing this out during the leadership of Harry Reid.

Of course a talking filibuster isn’t exactly a silver bullet. The majority has to keep senators ready at an hour’s notice or the opposition can note the absence of a quorum. You will remember from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that they phoned in all the Senators very quickly.

~Max

This would, of course, shine a big spotlight on Republican efforts to default on our debts. But again, this seems like an obvious strategy, so I don’t understand what McConnell would gain from this kind of brinksmanship. Is two-tracking that important to maintain at this point in time that Schumer wouldn’t consider breaking that dynamic? Schumer could, theoretically, withdraw his motion to proceed if something more important than making the Republicans argue for default comes up.

The Turtle blinked, so the crisis is postponed…for now.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Republicans would step aside and let Democrats raise the federal government’s borrowing limit high enough to avert a debt default crisis for two months.

McConnell said Republicans would “allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.”

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the Democrats don’t want to specify a dollar amount for the debt ceiling because they can’t get enough people to agree on one.

~Max

McConnell is not a master legislator or dealmaker - in nearly 40 years as a Senator he has never written a piece of major legislation that became law. His skills are in presenting a unified Republican opposition front and, more relevant here, taking credit for last-minute deals to avert crises that his own party manufactures.

In his own words,

“Remember me? I’m the guy who gets us out of shutdowns. […] I’m the guy that’s gotten us out of the shutdowns that some of our members have pushed us into in the past” ~Mitch McConnell, 2014

~Max

Looks to me like Republicans just didn’t want to set a debt ceiling high enought to encompass all the spending the Democrats want. So if they want to pass those giant spending bills, they’ll have to raise the debt ceiling again, won’t they? Since this just a temporary emergency authorization for curent spending levels?

He’s trying to keep attention on the truly outrageous levels of spending the Democrats want.

The U.S. Federal Government has an annual operating deficit to the tune of ~$3,000,000,000,000 per year. No fixed debt ceiling will hold for long even at “current spending levels”.

~Max

Hasn’t it been explained at least a dozen times in this thread that the debt ceiling covers money already spent? IOW, money largely authorized by a GOP Congress and Trump.

I’ve seen this mentioned once, but I must have missed the explanation. It seems nonsensical to me to borrow money after you spend it.

ETA: Now, there was an explanation about the President/executive branch being forced to choose between not spending money he is required to spend by law, and borrowing money he is not authorized to borrow by law. That makes sense.

~Max

“Spent” is not a specific term in budget parlance. Funds are first obligated meaning they are legally committed in a specific amount to a specific purpose – e.g. defense contracts, entitlement payments, interest on bonds, etc. When the funds actually transfer to the receiving entity, they are expended.

Raising the debt ceiling is necessary given our current obligations.

As has already been explained, this current debt covers Republican and Trump spending, not Biden spending. McConnell caved, but until today he was unwilling to pay for debts racked up by himself and Trump. He’ll probably try again (and hopefully cave again) in December.

Is that true? The FY2021 budget deficit (and thus debt assumed that year) was notably engorged by the American Rescue Plan Act, which is Biden’s thing and a major part of his campaign.

~Max

I’ll look for a cite, but my understanding was that we’re still operating on the last Trump budget.

Okay, now I think you’re right, at least partially - current spending is the last Trump budget but also includes some of the funds from the Rescue Act. The great majority of the day to day government spending is Trump’s last budget, AFAICT.

From a Wall Street Journal commentary piece by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, “Raising the debt ceiling doesn’t authorize additional spending of taxpayer dollars. Instead, when we raise the debt ceiling, we’re effectively agreeing to raise the country’s credit card balance, and in this case, 97% of that balance was incurred by past congresses and presidential administrations. Even if the Biden administration hadn’t authorized any spending, we would still need to address the debt ceiling now.”

His skills are also in the shameless ruthlessness, that allows him to pretend with a straight face to be a conservative elder statesman, solemnly concerned with traditions and responsibilities of his office, while at the same time exploring every possible way he can twist and break them partisan advantage. I think its nicely summed up in the article below.