John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Defining What the Something Is

Posted on August 21, 2013
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Passing a debt limit extension is hard.

The Democrats like to talk about how the Republicans should pass a clean debt extension. And then they like to run campaign ads against Republicans who vote for a clean debt extension.

Denny Rehberg, the Republican Congressman who ran for the Senate seat in Montana, found that out the hard way. So did George Allen, who ran against Tim Kaine.

Democrats ran ads hitting both Allen and Rehberg for voting to extend the debt limit, just as their President was beating up Republicans for not voting to extend the debt limit.

Hypocrisy runs so deep with the Democrats in Washington that they aren’t even self-conscious about it.

I can guarantee you the Nancy Pelosi won’t provide John Boehner enough votes to pass a clean debt extension, and that she will authorize her campaign committee to run ads in targeted districts against any Republican who votes for such an extension.

This only makes it more difficult for Boehner to come up with a strategy to increase the credit card limit.

Republicans have moved off the idea of shutting down the government in order to force Obama to sign the extinction of Obamacare.

Now they are talking about putting a delay of Obamacare in a debt limit extension.

That might be the only way they can pass the extension in the House, especially if they don’t get any votes from the House minority.

Another way to get debt limit extension is to include it in a big budget deal .

Such a deal would include a replacement of the sequester with some common sense entitlement reforms, an omnibus appropriations bill, some elements of common sense tax reform, and a delay in the implementation of Obamacare.

That kind of big bill probably would only pass on the night before Christmas, when the members are sufficiently exhausted and the pressure is so intense that they somehow coble together a coalition of the willing.

In the meantime, the House and Senate will most likely do a couple of short-term continuing resolutions, starting at the end of September, that will probably stretch until the end of the year.

Whenever we hit the debt limit, I imagine that the House and Senate will authorize some small extensions, to keep the pressure on to get a big deal.

Republican leaders are smart enough to understand that shutting down the government in order to force the President to accept the demise of his number one legislative achievement is probably not going to happen, despite the protestations of the Heritage Foundation and Ted Cruz.

But they also understand that they have to pass something, and to pass something, they have to get the votes, and to get the votes, they have to get something from the President.

This Fall will be spent trying to figure out what that something will be.

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