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The Five Stages of GOP Grief Over the Debt Limit

Now we are in the bargaining stage

The Republican leadership seems to have logically realized the debt limit provides them no real leverage, but like a spurned teenager the House Republican caucus is just not emotionally mature enough to accept reality yet. As a result, their attempts to “get something” for the debt limit vote are getting increasing weird and pathetic. From Politico:

One option — which was widely discussed Wednesday in closed-door meetings and on the House floor — is to attach a nine-month patch of the Sustainable Growth Rate to the debt-limit increase. The SGR, or “doc fix,” as it is known on Capitol Hill, is the formula by which the federal government reimburses doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Still very much in the mix is a proposal to reverse recent cuts to the cost-of-living adjustment for some military retirees. Top Republicans — including some of Boehner’s allies — think that language could also attract Democratic support. But Senate insiders say Boehner is sorely mistaken, since it would reverse a recent budget deal hashed out by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Their plan was originally to use the debt limit to force Democrats to give them one-for-one deficit reduction. Now they are thinking about using it to “force” Democrats to give them deficit increasing provisions many Democrats want.

I feel likely I’m watching the entire House GOP caucus going through the five stages of grief over the debt limit.

The government shutdown was caused by them being in denial about Obama’s refusal to give in. Anger was furiously trying to blame the shutdown on Obama after the GOP’s polling numbers tanked. Now we are in the bargaining stage and given how increasingly pathetic their plans are getting it seems to be quickly transitioning to depression. Hopefully, we will hit acceptance soon and we won’t need to go through this whole melodrama again.

Photo by Alex, used under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at