The list of House Freedom Caucus and other Republicans who have pledged to vote against Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s deal with the White House to pass a new debt ceiling bill, falls just short of something that would actually kill it. I say that’s by design. There might be a vote held to “vacate the chair” but I’m fairly sure McCarthy considered that and took measures to ensure his own survival. At this point, it’s pure theater of the fantasy utopians.
The calculus is very simple. If Congress doesn’t pass some kind of authorization for the Treasury to take on more federal debt, then our government will stop functioning in an efficient manner, and the markets will reflect the absolute chaos and betrayal of trust the politicians have wrought and at that point will fully deserve.
So when Roy said. “I want to be very clear: not one Republican should vote for this deal. Not one.” And when he echoed the same words heard from Reps. Dan Bishop, Wesley Hunt, Nancy Mace, Keith Self, and others, Roy was yelling from a position of safety, knowing he can scream against the bill and also be relieved that it will pass. “If you’re out there watching this, every one of my colleagues, I’m gonna be very clear: not one Republican should vote for this deal. It is a bad deal.”
The debt deal isn’t perfect, but it’s what was negotiated between the Speaker and the White House, with McCarthy meeting in person with President Biden. Lawmakers on the hill know that there’s literally just days to go, and they played this thing down to the wire. They would not take the chance to actually sink the deal if they weren’t secure in the knowledge that, at the eleventh hour, McCarthy will pull it off. And it will also pass the Senate, if only by the tiebreaker vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
And in a fabulous display of bipartisan hackery, President Biden will sign it, then everyone will go back to campaigning, secure in the knowledge that this particular goblin won’t be back until after the 2024 election. You realize that was the whole point of the entire negotiation, right? I have faith that readers understand the political landscape well enough to realize that what emanates out of Washington D.C. through the press is—well—lies, or at best, contrived and not reflective of the real motives and activities of our esteemed legislators, executive branch functionaries, and media spinmeisters.
The Congressional Budget Office—generally a fair arbiter—found that the debt deal would reduce the federal deficit (that’s the growth of the debt, mind you, not the debt itself) by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. If true, which it likely is, for this current moment, until the next things that overrides it, it’s better than an ever-increasing deficit, which is the track this nation’s been on for quite some time.
The debt deal is likely the best both sides could get from the other in substance. The only bipartisan agreement is that Congress and the White House won’t have to deal with this again until after the election is out of the way. Well, that and our government gets to keep writing checks.
But no matter, the House Freedom Caucus and its Knights Templar have put on their armor, mounted their steeds, and from the safety of the castle walls, have shouted for the destruction of the enemy. I like Chip Roy. He’s an intelligent, soulful man whose personal battle with cancer is both inspiring and brave. Roy is a competent legislator. But in this case, he knows he’s wrong, and is just making a performative play to get attention, along with the rest of the “nay” voters.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.
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