Will the US default on its debt?

I think that unfortunately, the Democrats will have to cave in the end. Its hard to win a game of chicken when the other driver is a member of a death cult.

The real difficulty is that the Republicans have different motivations that the Republicans. The Democrats have to be concerned about the perception of the buisiness community and the public at large, and also might have a slight interest of not having the country go up in flames. All the Republicans care about is their base, and that base sees signs of weakness and compromise in the face of the Democrats as the most cardinal sin. They have already demonstrated that they are willing to die in order own the libs, so destroying the nations credit rating is no big deal.

They way it will probably go down is that there will be a govenment shutdown for a couple of weeks. This may be less disruptive than normal. We’ve been through this before, everyone knows the drill. Also due to the pandemic many government workers are already staying home, which makes it easier for some of them (myself included, don’t tell anyone) to cheat and do a little bit of illegal clandstine government work on the side to keep the backlog from being too overwhelming when we get back to work.

The Govenment will creep closer to default there will be multiple cloture votes against default in the senate with Republicans repeatedly voting no. But on the last day the Dems will cave and pass it through reconcilliation to avoid default. The Republicans will loudly claim victory and try to spin this that it proves that the crisis was the Democrats fault since they could have stopped it at any time without the Republicans help. The Dems will argue that they can hardly be blamed for obstructing a bill that they uniformly voted for and the Republicans uniformly voted against. Partisans on either side will accept their sides version of events while the small sliver in the middle will take the easy way out by saying that both sides are equally to blame.

Hopefully by waiting until default became big news, the Democrats will neutralize the strategy of claiming that voting against the debt ceiling indicates financial responsibility, but one can never underestimate the stupidity of the American public.

McConnell’s GOP Senate will be able to say "Look, we voted for infrastructure - it wasn’t a popular vote. We’re willing to help you guys pay for bridges and roads, but we’re not going to call a whole range of social spending "infrastructure." It’s obviously bullshit, but that’s their message, and unfortunately, I suspect that moderate voters - like the kind that help get Sinema and Manchin and others elected - are going to accept that line of reasoning.

What does it mean for Democrats to “cave,” though? Republicans aren’t making demands in return for allowing a debt limit vote. They’re ruling out supporting such a vote entirely, including refusing support cloture in the Senate. This isn’t a game of chicken, it’s a flat refusal of one party to participate in the process.

Democrats can’t wait until the last minute to do it through reconciliation, reconciliation is a laborious process that it may already be too late to get done by the time the limit is breached next month. They can try to move it as standard legislation, and get blocked in the Senate because there aren’t 60 votes to invoke cloture. At that point, their only option is to nuke the filibuster.

Part of the political problem is that government shutdowns and debt limit crises have become so routine that voters shrug them off. So Republicans don’t feel much pressure to avoid being seen as obstructionists. It would take real consequences to their actions – a stock market crash, social security recipients missing checks – AND a successful Democratic campaign to paint Republicans as the reason for the debt limit breach for them to reconsider their strategy.

Democrats caving likely means they have to raise the debt ceiling via reconciliation. There isn’t actually a deal being proposed by McConnell, it isn’t like the 2011 showdown where the House Republicans were asking for things as varied as an Obamacare repeal and a massive cut to social spending, McConnell is outright saying he isn’t interested in assisting raise the debt ceiling because he doesn’t want to help Democrats govern.

You forgot another option: drop the larger stimulus push altogether.

Again, not the option I’m in favor of, but that’s what McConnell and Manchin would likely say.

What does that have to do with the debt limit? Theoretically they can pass both through reconciliation if they really wanted to, as mentioned above.

That’s exactly right - he doesn’t. Republicans want to give people the impression that a Democratic congress is dysfunctional and doesn’t work even when they have the presidency on their side. They want chaos. They have a bigger end game here, which is slit the throat of liberal democracy once and for all.

The moderate Republicans may take a hit on this as well because they risk not getting shit for their efforts, and some red states (like Louisiana) could really use some federal money. But I’m not sure how interested House Dems would be in reviving any talk of stimulus when theirs just got Borked.

It’s not yet clear whether they can do that, though. In fact I’d say it’s far from clear

Which they do not have 50 votes to do.

True, but if they were to actually play hard politics for once, they could use the debt ceiling as a bludgeon. “Sorry. We won’t pass this by reconciliation. You’ll have to convince the Republicans to vote for the debt ceiling increase, or you’ll have to nuke the filibuster.”

Obviously, this is just daydreaming nonsense, as that is the one thing the Democratic party lacks. The Republicans play hardball, but the Democrats won’t.

I wouldn’t make a great politician because there’s probably something I don’t “get” either, if I was Biden I’d be leaning on Manchin and Sinema, quietly, but with the threat of it becoming not so quiet–vote with us to disallow filibustering debt ceiling legislation in the Senate, the same way you can’t filibuster reconciliation bills or judicial and executive branch approvals, then vote with us to raise the debt ceiling. If not, we’ll simply let it be known the two of you caused the Great Recession of 2021.

But it appears the Dems and Biden have 0 interest in that track so there’s probably some political reason it won’t work.

It’s not that Democrats won’t play hardball; they just don’t have enough progressive Democrats to do it. There are centrist Democrats who are freebasing and shooting themselves up with corporate money in the back alleys of DC. And although it’s true that corporate America is probably none too pleased that the GOP is using the creditworthiness of the US as its weapon of choice, in the end, there’s far more alignment between them and McConnell than there is with the progressive left. Corporate America, like McConnell, wants to kill the tax hikes and expansion of the federal treasury, though curiously it seems to have zero problem with an expanding Fed balance sheet.

The final destination is collapse of the American currency, American markets, and the American system altogether. Just a matter of when.

Biden had his chance to get out front on the filibuster, and he defended it, waxing nostalgic about his days as a senator. And as far as I know, his position - publicly, anyway - hasn’t change.

Big fucking mistake, Joe.

It is a 50-50 tie. If it was 55-45 Dem, then I agree. You tell Manchin to play ball or else he is on the men’s room janitorial committee and West Virginia gets nothing in federal dollars.

But it is 50-50. To be able to threaten, lean, or muscle, you have to be able to back it up. What Biden would be asking Manchin to do is torpedo his political future in West Virginia and you get a conservative Republican in his place next time.

And if they push too hard, Manchin can change parties, be a hero in WV, get lucrative assignments from McConnell for doing so and now the GOP has control of the Senate.

So, again, who really has the power here?

FWIW I’ve followed Manchin’s career since he first ran for Secretary of State; his political career is over in WV the next time around anyway. Each year more of the “never switching” super old WV Democrats die off, and they aren’t being replaced by young WV Democrats, they’re being replaced by young WV Republicans. There is actually probably almost nothing Manchin could do to keep his Senate seat–and I’m actually not sure he will even try. But I do think Manchin would care about being blamed for a national disaster, unlike a lot of people I don’t think Manchin is craven, I think he’s actually just a centrist and willing to use the power he has. But I also think his centrist instincts, if put into the hot coals, might cause him to not want to be perceived as having single-handedly crashed the U.S. economy. That isn’t something moderates normally like doing.

I’ve followed his career from before that. If there is one thing you can count on Joe for it is looking out for Joe. If you try to blame him, I can hear him in my head saying that he is simply 1 out of 100 votes and little Joe can’t be blamed for this.

ETA: And I disagree that his career is toast. Unless we find a real superstar, young, fresh, new of ideas Republican, Joe will hold on as long as he likes.

If they run anyone other than Morrisey he is done. He has polled worse since his last reelection than ever before in his career, and the State has voted GOP much harder than it was when he was last reelected (which was a down year for Republicans in general.)

He could also be blessed by running up against a radioactive opponent like he did last time.

I think Manchin may or may not be motivated to run again, but even if he’s not, he’s motivated to be a political powerbroker, whether he’s in office or not. Lots of former senators position themselves as lobbyists (“consultants”) after leaving office. They can also take their campaign war chest and turn it into a slush fund for personal use (yes, I know that it’s technically illegal to use campaign contributions as a personal bank, but they can be written off as an expense in a lot of cases).

He’s getting paid. If he votes to raise taxes for billionaires, that money might go away, and so might his post-Senate career as a lobbyist and influencer. That’s why people like Manchin run for reelection - it’s the power and the money, which doesn’t have to go away when they retire. I’m done betting on the better angels of our congress critters to win out over naked self-interest. We’ve seen time and time again how this plays out.

I mean the guy who ran against him last time is Morrisey, who is also first in line to run against him again–and I do think that would be Joe’s best match up because Morrissey is one of the more unlikable people to ever enter Republican politics (he’s also a New Jersey carpetbagger.) I think even Morissey could beat him in theory though, he only lost by 3%, it’s not like he was being drubbed out as a non-viable candidate like John Raese was the 3 times he decided to waste portions of his family fortune running for U.S. Senate in WV.

I agree that Morrisey is very unlikeable. I’ve met him myself and I would go so far as to say that he is a real asshole. But I still put him in the category of “generic Republican.” And we have a lot of those: Jenkins, Armstead, Blair, Hanshaw, the works. I don’t see anyone on deck doing better against Manchin, and just my opinion, he will win those 3 point squeakers as long as he wants to run, again, unless we get a bright young superstar.

Raese didn’t start out as an unelectable candidate. Came close to beating Rockefeller in 1984. But then he decided to try to take down Robert C. Byrd while at the same time getting much kookier in his ideas as he aged. Raese had a legitimate shot of leading the party (I know he was state chairman, but I mean really, really lead) but he just kept going further and further out there.