Republicans Still in Total Disarray Over Debt Ceiling Increase

| Thu Oct. 10, 2013 11:52 AM EDT

Jonathan Strong says I should read Tim Alberta's latest piece in National Journal, so I did. And I'm mystified:

In interviews with numerous GOP lawmakers, members spoke with confidence — and acceptance — of the fact that the House will soon approve a short-term deal to raise the debt-ceiling and force Democrats to the negotiating table. Details are still being ironed out, House Republicans said, but they are on track to approve a debt-limit extension — lasting between four and six weeks — that would establish a framework for subsequent fiscal negotiations.

....The particulars of this short-term proposal are in flux, as there are ongoing discussions within the conference regarding which provisions — if any — should be attached. Some members are pushing for commensurate spending cuts, though such a figure could be difficult to calculate. Others are advocating the inclusion of one, or multiple, mini-funding bills that have been passed through the House. A clutch of conservatives, meanwhile, are asking for language that would prioritize Treasury payments.

Am I missing something? The one thing President Obama has said he won't do is negotiate over a debt ceiling increase. So what do these guys do? Propose a 4-week debt ceiling increase with a bunch of conditions attached.

If I'm reading Alberta's piece correctly, Republicans seem to think that a debt ceiling increase with conditions attached would be OK with Obama because it's not actually a negotiation. They're just telling him what he has to do. So, you know, he could sign it and then start negotiating. Or something.

Either (a) Alberta is reporting this wrong, (b) I'm reading it wrong, or (c) Republicans are even more divorced from reality than I thought. Take your pick.

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