Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boehner Plan/Reid Plan

I don't have anything much to say about Barack Obama's speech last night, which I thought was not particularly inspired, or John Boehner's speech, which I skipped, at least for now (I had a prior engagement for family viewing of one of the weaker Buffy Season 4 episodes, which was nonetheless more fun than the president's speech, and almost certainly more fun than the Speaker's).

I do have one comment, however, on where things stand now.  For all the huff and puff of everything yesterday, not only is it obvious that Boehner's plan couldn't win in the Senate and Reid's plan couldn't win in the House -- but I  find it not very likely right now that Boehner's plan could pass in the House, or that Reid's plan could win in the Senate. The reporting on the House has convinced me that Boehner would probably lose 50 or more Republicans and I can't see him winning more than a handful of Democrats. I haven't seen any reporting at all on the Senate, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Reid lost Democrats on both the left and the right if his proposal went to the floor (especially given that it has no shot of getting 60).

Which I guess means that I think yesterday was just for show.


  1. Two questions:

    1) In the House, who speaks for moderate Republicans? They plus Democrats might constitute a workable majority on this issue.

    2) In the Senate, could Reid's plan be put into a form passable by reconciliation?

  2. followup to #10- do we have an working estimate of the # of moderate republicans?

  3. # of moderate Republicans = 240 (Republican members of House) - appeox. 170 (Republican Study Committee) = 70

  4. My question is what Buffy was it?

  5. @Across: It doesn't matter if moderate GOPers and Dems could constitute a majority, because neither has the leadership so no plan they concocted would come up for a vote.

    Don't know about the reconciliation issue.

  6. More on moderate Republicans later, I think.

    On reconciliation -- forget about it. In order to do a reconciliation bill, there have to be instructions in a budget resolution, and (as Republicans have been pointing out) there hasn't been one of those for a couple of years now.

    Oh -- and the one where Buffy & Riley raise scary spirits by having sex...really not one of the better ones.

  7. So basically there's no plan that can pass both houses of Congress. It's time for the administration to reconsider the 14th Amendment option.

  8. No, you don't get to contradict article 1, section 8 because you can't come to an agreement. Doing something Unconstitutional is not a last resort option. It's not an option, period.

  9. The 14th Amendment nuclear option has looked like Obama's ace in the hole all through this. He has poo-poo'd it without ever quite actually ruling it out.

    And if/when he invokes it, what can the House do? Start impeachment hearings? That would give base Republicans an orgasm, but everyone else would scoff.

  10. Yes, by all means, let's only consider what our President can get away with, and avoid those pesky Constitutional questions.

  11. Of course last night was about "the optics". It couldn't be anything else!

    Mr Obama's speech was masterful; he got his points across and painted a big target on the GOP. John Boehner sang an aria to the choir; even so, it was a little off-key. Alright, he was absolutely unconvincing. But I did think Obama got the tone about right, and he presented his arguments quite well. Not every speech has to be inspiring; some serve their purpose best by being a little scary. Obama's speech was scary; Boehner merely whined.

    Speaking of the optics, Mr Obama looked presidential; Mr Boehner looked like he was squeezed into a corner of an office somewhere. (And, not to be too trivial [ahem...], his tie was awful. As he spoke, I kept looking at it!)

    I did like Grover Norquist's little episode on CNN; he kept complaining about Obama's teleprompter (isn't that like complaining someone has taken better notes than you?) and saying that the President was playing politics... Erm, he's a politician, in the middle of a political crisis brought about by one smallish group of Republican politicians playing chicken with the political system. What does Mr Norquist want? A game of pinochle?

  12. Oops. I meant "isn't that like complaining someone is better prepared than you". Sorry. :-)

  13. Time to start writing the next series of articles: "The debt ceiling is just a tiny skirmish. There're ways around it (14th, coins, etc). The next budget is the real fight, and it's going to make this one look like a kindergarden tussle."

  14. Article 1, Section 8 reads (extraneous matter not included):

    "The Congress shall have Power...To borrow Money on the credit of the United States"

    Congress has passed spending and revenue acts that require that the Federal Government operate currently with a budget deficit. Congress has therefore authorized the Executive branch to borrow money on the credit of the United States. At least as far as I'm concerned.

    And the revenue and spending acts are nearer in time than the debt limitation act, and so should be construed to supercede it.

    So I (an economist and definitely not a expert in Constitutional law) see no difficulties...

  15. The key part of your analysis being "Congress has passed." That doesn't authorize the President to do so unilaterally. Like, at all.

    No one's saying you CAN'T operate with a deficit. It's that the President doesn't get to borrow without Congress' approval. It's that simple.

  16. @Anon: No one is talking about Obama borrowing a dime for anything NOT already authorized by Congress. The point is that Congress has refused to raise the debt limit to enable spending that it has already authorized legislatively.

    And yes, we are dealing with highly ambiguous bits of interpretation. But basically, one house of Congress is trying to impose a radical wish list, and the result is some political/constitutional hardball.

    If Obama disses the House Republicans, they can try an impeachment. It will just leave them looking like fools, but after all, it was House Republicans who turned impeachment into a farce.

  17. That's a weak episode, and I love SMG naked and sweaty. BTW, what is the message of that episode, that you shouldn't have sex all the time? Yeah, good luck trying to convince people of that.

    I agree about both deals. Though I'm not as such about what Dems in the Senate would vote for as I am Reps in the House. There seem to be a lot of crazy Reps who would love for us to default.


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