October 15th, 2013
Inspired by More Republicans doubt that the debt limit deadline is real (Slate 10/08/13) and Senate leaders see deal on horizon (Lori Montgomery and Rosalind Helderman, Washington Post 10/15/13 page A1). My opinion: the White House and Senate Dems should accept the curtailment of Treasury’s authority to undertake special measures to delay default.
“One of the problems is that the Treasury historically has played games with the exact drop-dead date. Who knows if Oct. 17 truly is the day when we won’t be able to pay our bills, or if it’s a month later than that? Who knows?” — Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) “You have to scratch your head and wonder who the Treasury secretary is sometimes. Most of the sophisticated people who buy Treasurys—look, there’s about 20 banks around the country that most of us who care about this call to find out when the real debt ceiling is. All of them know it’s not really on Oct. 17, OK?” – Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “Democrats were resisting a GOP demand to deny Treasury Secretary Jack Lew the use of special measures to extend his borrowing power past Feb. 7. That would give Congress a firm deadline for the next debt-limit increase, with no wiggle room for Treasury Department accountants.” – Washington Post
In spite of all the Tea Party caused chaos and confusion,
The shutdown and debt ceiling crises may be nearing their conclusion.
But sources reveal
A “sticking point” in the deal:
Should the Treasury Department be able
To postpone default as long as it’s able?
That ability makes perfect sense
(It is Treasury’s job to manage our dollars and cents).
But eliminating that authority has one big plus
Which would restrain the doubters and bolster us.
It’d give a firmer deadline to the idiots who say:
“I bet that we can get away
With holding the debt ceiling hostage another day.”
They’d bet our full faith and credit that they can let the crisis go past
The last day Treasury says it can make the money last.
Yeah, not letting someone mitigate a crisis isn’t ideal,
But this shouldn’t stand in the way of a debt ceiling deal,
Especially since it may help teach the deniers a lesson
And the risk of future default lessen.
NB: It’s Not A Poison Pill. The Debt Ceiling Extraordinary Measures Should Be Repealed (Daily Kos10/10/13) supports the view that it would not be harmful to curtail Treasury’s special measures authority, and goes into more detail about how Treasury’s special measures work.