House Hostage Takers Give Up, But Promise Plenty of Hostages in Future


The good news today is that John Boehner is apparently making good on his promise to “clean the barn” before he leaves by cutting a budget deal with the White House. From the New York Times: “The accord would avert a potentially cataclysmic default on the government’s debt and dispense with perhaps the most divisive issue in Washington just before Speaker John A. Boehner is expected to turn over his gavel to Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.”

Then there’s today’s schadenfreude-ish news: House super-conservatives are sad because they don’t think there’s anything they can do to halt this reckless attempt to keep the government running and pay our legal debts. Reuters: “Representatives Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Mick Mulvaney, founders of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, told Reuters in an interview that there was not enough time for House Republicans to rally around a list of demands for raising the $18.1 trillion U.S. borrowing limit.”

Then there’s today’s bad news:

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives’ most influential conservative group told Reuters on Monday it was too late to stop an extension of the federal debt ceiling this week, but they will not hold it against the expected next House Speaker, Paul Ryan.

….The three lawmakers said they wanted to work with Ryan on process reforms that would allow them to get a much earlier start on future fiscal deadlines to demand spending cuts and reforms to federal benefits programs such as Social Security and Medicare. This way, they would not be trying to craft a strategy at the last minute with default or government shutdowns looming in the balance.

….[Mulvaney] said Ryan’s first big test would be a spending bill to keep government agencies open past a current shutdown deadline of Dec. 11. This would have to produce “at least something better than we would have gotten under Mr. Boehner.”

So they’ve given up on provoking a debt limit/government shutdown crisis for now, but by God they expect Ryan to give them enough time to provoke plenty of them in the future. And that starts in six weeks, Mr. Speaker.