Debt Ceiling Increase: The Long and the Short of it
One of the biggest battles over raising the debt ceiling at this moment seems to be whether any debt ceiling increase will last until after November 2012 or will it require another vote on the debt limit before the election.
Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan would require the debt ceiling to be raised again in about six months. That is considered a selling point for Eric Cantor (R-VA) who sees only a six month increase as calling Obama’s bluff.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also wants there to be another vote on the debt ceiling before the election and claims there is no logical reason to carry it forward 16 months instead of six. From MSNBC:
There’s absolutely no economic justification for insisting on a debt limit increase that brings us through the next election. It’s not the beginning of a fiscal year, it’s not the beginning of a calendar year, based on his own words its hard to conclude that this request has anything to do with anything other than the president’s re-election.
On the other hand, the White House today reaffirmed Obama’s veto threat against any short term deficit increase, including Boehner’s bill. Although the White House left a little wiggle room. Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pointed to the short term nature of Boehner’s plan as a reason he would fight to kill it in the Senate.
McConnell is correct when he says it is purely for political reasons Obama is demanding the debt ceiling increase last until after the election. Of course, it the same raw politics that is motivating the Republican leadership’s insistence that there be another debt ceiling vote before the election.
So a big part of the fight right now is between the short and the long-term increase. It is about whether or not the GOP can force Obama to break his veto threat. It is also a fight about whether we have the insane debt ceiling fight again in six months or in 16 months.
I don’t know how this impasse will be resolved. What is clear though, given that the GOP is demanding this same basic fight happen again relatively soon and Democrats are working so hard to avoid it, is which party both sides feel has been the unquestionable winner in this debate.