WonkTV

Will Jen Psaki Have 'Squid Game' Spoilers Today? Won't Know Unless You Watch!

Don't know why she would, but she might surprise us.

With the debt ceiling crisis put on hold and a meh jobs report for September (which could be worse, considering all the damn COVID), White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki should have plenty to talk about today! We bet she'll take about 30 versions of the same question about the jobs report, which will all be "Why isn't everyone back to work while a quarter of the eligible population decided not to get vaccinated, huh?" Let's see how her patience holds up!

Will some idiot ask her why Joe Biden has a "fake White House" that doesn't actually look anything like the White House but is upsetting many wingnuts this week? Doocy. It's gonna be Doocy.

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Congress

GOP Saves World By Graciously Allowing Democrats To Save World, And This Is The Thanks They Get???

Chuck Schumer said they should be more helpful, and they are piiiiiiiissed.

As expected, Democrats in the Senate voted last night to temporarily raise the federal debt limit, heading off a default on the US debt that would have been catastrophic for the US economy and likely would have caused a worldwide economic crash. But before that vote could go forward, with only Democrats voting for the plan, 50 to 48, Senate Republicans had to follow through on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge that his party wouldn't block the vote.

Ted Cruz immediately filibustered by objecting to allowing the vote by unanimous consent, which meant that McConnell had to scrape up at least 10 votes just to fulfill the promise he'd made not to crash the economy yet. Eventually, 11 Republicans voted for cloture, which meant Democrats could go on to pass the completely routine measure with only their own votes.

But first, Cruz had to deliver a very pissy little speech about how terrible it was that McConnell refused to hold firm and force Democrats to use the far more complex process of reconciliation to raise the debt limit.

"Schumer was on the verge of surrender. And unfortunately, the deal that was put on the table was a lifeline for Schumer. And I disagree with that decision," Cruz said. "The strategy was exactly right. And for two months, Republicans were completely unified."

Again, the debt limit had to be raised to keep the country running. But what good is a pointless power play if you can't get your enemy to kneel before Zod, and perhaps downgrade the USA's credit rating?

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Congress

What's Up With The Debt Ceiling? What Channel Is The Debt Ceiling? When Does The Debt Ceiling Start?

Take that, search engines!

With the US just 11 days away from defaulting on its debts, the Senate has reached a deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling until sometime in early December so we can go through the same stupid fight all over again in two months. The deal was announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this morning while we were writing the first draft of this story and joking that an actual deal would probably be announced two minutes after we clicked "publish." We were so close! CNBC has the deets:

The agreement allows the debt limit to increase by $480 billion, according to people familiar with the deal, a sum the Treasury Department estimates will allow it to pay bills until Dec. 3.

Yesterday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed the temporary extension of the debt limit, although it's hardly a terrific deal. But by heading off a possible default, it will at least prevent a meltdown of the world economy, at least until the new limit draws closer.

So did McConnell blink? Or was it just some weird turtle reflex? McConnell and Senate Republicans have been playing chicken with the economy and people's lives for weeks now by refusing to cooperate on raising the debt limit, which is usually a routine part of governing. But because McConnell sees a political advantage in portraying Democrats as fiscally irresponsible with next year's midterms coming up, he's not only refused to let the bill pass with a bipartisan vote, he's also refused to allow 10 Republicans to vote for "cloture," which would let Democrats pass the bill with only 50 votes, plus a tie-breaker vote by Vice President Kamala Harris.

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Congress

Chuck Schumer Plans One More Debt Ceiling Vote Today. After That, KABLOOIE.

Nobody knows what Kablooie will be, exactly.

The fuck-tussle over the debt limit continues on in its inexorable stupidity today, with Republicans continuing to insist they won't act on what's normally a simple matter of authorizing the USA to keep borrowing to pay its national debt, which has been accumulated under presidents and Congresses of both parties. Why? Because Rs are in the minority and they can, is about it. There's the minor detail that if the debt limit isn't increased or suspended, the nation's credit rating will be downgraded, with ripple effects throughout the US and world economies that would likely cause a global recession, but on the other hand, Republicans have the ability to make Democrats be the responsible adults in the room, plus they're confident that any bad news would hurt Democrats more anyway.

Now, Democrats could raise the debt limit on their own, without a single vote from Republicans, by using the budget reconciliation process. As the Source of All World Knowledge explains, that's perfectly cromulent under the weird Senate rules governing reconciliation, and wouldn't get in the way of Democrats' also using reconciliation to pass the Build Back Better bill this year as well. But Majority Leader Chuck Schumer doesn't wanna, for a number of reasons we discuss here, so he's not talking about reconciliation except as a last resort.

Schumer will instead hold one more vote this afternoon on a bill to suspend the debt ceiling until December 2022, safely after the midterm elections. There's no reason at all to think that Republicans will allow the bill to go forward. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), that very moderate gent, has already said he'll vote to filibuster, and fellow GOP "moderate" Susan Collins (R-Maine) has offered an innovative not-quite-a-deal where if Democrats simply give up on Build Back Better bill, then maaayyybe some Republicans might vote to prevent the economy from collapsing, out of the goodness of their hearts and a sense of bipartisan comity.

Oh, fuck both of yez. As Steve Martin said, comity is not pretty.

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