The Kabuki debt-limit dance

A Senate Insider Reveals 3 Doomsday Scenarios That Could Blow Up Debt Limit


“What usually happens with the debt limit,” says Manley, “is that Republicans go through a Kabuki process of having show votes before they do the right thing. They pass a bill [raising the limit] with all sorts of conditions attached, those get stripped by the Senate, everyone freaks out. Then at the last minute they pass a clean bill.” The reason Goldman Sachs and other observers are so mellow about the deadline this time is that hardline conservatives who threaten default lack a key point of leverage: They can’t oust House Speaker John Boehner because he’s already said he’ll resign next week. Boehner has said he wants to “clean up the barn” before leaving, which has been interpreted to mean he’ll put a “clean” debt limit bill on the House floor and pass it with mainly Democratic votes, as he has in the past.
Comment: Kabuki

The Kabuki process .... involves what is essentially a game of hot potato: To appease conservatives, the House passes a bill on a party-line vote with provisions attached that no Democrat can support; the Senate strips those provisions and passes a clean bill, which it sends back to the House; as midnight approaches, Boehner puts the clean bill on the floor and it squeaks through. But this back-and-forth takes time, owing to procedural rules and the glacial pace at which Congress operates

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