How Republican Debt Default Hostage-Taking Ends (For Now)

If you’re worried that the federal government will default on its debt Thursday, worry no further (if Brian Beutler, writing in Salon this morning, received good intelligence):

Boehner communicated to Reid, a top aide told me, that he’d send the Senate a “clean message” to speed things up should anyone — Ted Cruz? Mike Lee? — object to an agreement to hasten its usually lengthy legislative process. A “message” is a legislative vehicle that would allow Reid to bypass at least one time-consuming cloture motion. Alternatively, the House could pass the Reid-McConnell deal first, and send it over to the Senate, for similar purposes.

That development suggests Boehner knows the jig is up. He’s standing down, getting out of the way, working to assure GOP rebels don’t push the deal past the deadline in a fit of pique.

The truth is, there are decent reasons to think that even someone as dug in as Cruz won’t assume the risk of delaying whatever deal Reid and McConnell ink. An individual senator or group of senators that held up the plan would own the ensuing market reaction forever. It’s hard to win the presidency if you’re responsible for the Cruz Crash. It’s hard to finance a re-election campaign if the public thinks you destroyed its wealth and institutional donors know how reckless you are.

Thus, despite the time crunch, there are promising signs that Congress will avert disaster by the end of the week, and reopen the government, too. How Republicans react to such a punishing defeat, what conservatives do, and what comes next for John Boehner, will be big stories in the weeks ahead.

After so crushing a repudiation of their nuclear option strategy–“Give us what we want or we’ll blow up the economy”–do you suppose Republicans will be back in a few months trying to use it again?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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One Response to How Republican Debt Default Hostage-Taking Ends (For Now)

  1. Mikels Skele says:

    Assuming they’re rational. We’ve seen no sign of that recently.

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