Saturday Night Live Blog: Debt Ceiling Watch

Hello Sky Dancers! If you don’t have a hot date, join us in documenting the atrocities as the Senate the Congressional food fight continues–building up to the crucial vote on Harry Reid’s debt ceiling/deficit reduction bill at 1AM.

I haven’t been watching it, but Dakinikat says it’s been really wild. Here’s a link to watch Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell “spar” over whether there has been progress on an agreement based on McConnell’s meetings with Obama.

It seems that McConnell and Boehner are betting the farm that President Obama will cave, and stab Reid and Pelosi in the back. I just can’t imagine that Obama would agree to the Boehner bill though–not with the spending caps and the balanced budget amendment in there. But with President Pushover, you just never can tell how low he will go.

The most interesting news I’ve seen tonight was that earlier tonight, according to ABC News,

Tom Harkin made a plea on the Senate floor Saturday evening for President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to strike a deal before the Aug. 2 default deadline.

“If the Congress through inaction, through inaction or action, tries to destroy or alter those obligations I believe it is incumbent on the chief executive to exercise his authority to make sure the full faith and credit of the United States is not jeopardized. The president should use his authority to do so,” Harkin said.

Harkin joins a growing number of Democrats who have called on the president to broadly interpret a section of the 14th Amendment which says “the validity of the public debt… shall not be questioned” as justification for him to authorize continued borrowing if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

In addition, Huffpo is reporting that according to an unnamed Congressperson, Nancy Pelosi is privately supporting the notion of Obama invoking the 14th amendment.

“Nancy clearly wants it,” said the lawmaker, who requested anonymity. “Publicly? No. Privately? She thinks the president should do it. Period.”

Several top Democrats have endorsed the idea in recent days as an eleventh hour solution: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) backed the option on Wednesday, and House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) emerged from a Monday Caucus meeting announcing their support for the idea as well.

But Pelosi, the highest-ranking House Democrat, has been mum. One possible reason is that she has to preserve the image that Congress will reach a deal before the situation even gets to that point.

Josh Marshall says he’s heard “rumblings” about the 14th amendment idea, but he’ll believe it when he sees it.

Well, what does he know? If he could predict the future, he probably wouldn’t have supported Obama in 2008.

I’m going to try to stay up until the vote. Those of you in other times zones will have an easier time of it. You can watch the Senate debate on C-span. MSNBC has broken into their usual weekend prison break fare and are following the debate. I’m listening to that on satellite radio. Dak is going to watch C-Span and provide updates. So join us if you dare! And if you have ideas for drinking games, throw put them out there.

32 Comments on “Saturday Night Live Blog: Debt Ceiling Watch”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Harry Reid will be speaking again on the Senate floor in a short while.

    • dakinikat says:

      TPM Talking Points Memo
      MT @chucktodd: Chatter in Senate Reid may decide delay cloture vote till noon tmrw to give talks mre time for both HIS bill and WH-McConnell

  2. dakinikat says:

    joshtpm Josh Marshall
    FED UP: Just Do The 14th Amendment Thing Already, Democrats Beg Obama… via @tpm

  3. dakinikat says:

    Senator Sanders speaking on the floor of the senate this evening calling for the 14th amendment nuclear option:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Oh well…..

    The vote will be at 1PM tomorrow.

  5. dakinikat says:

    markknoller Mark Knoller
    US Senate has adjourned for the night until noon tomorrow. Reid will proceed with vote of his bill at 1pm if no deal by then.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Brian Beutler:

    Earlier Saturday, Dems were prepared for the 1 a.m. vote to fail, based on continued disagreement between the two parties over how to assure future cuts to entitlement programs and tax reform, according to a highly placed Democratic source. That vote is now scheduled for 1 p.m., Sunday.

    Both the House and Senate debt limit votes call for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral committee tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion through entitlement and tax reform. But Republicans are reluctant to count that $1.8 trillion toward the debt limit increase unless there’s a viable penalty in place that would be triggered if the committee gridlocks, Congress fails to pass their proposal, or President Obama vetoes it.

    As noted here, Republicans are insisting on skewed triggers. The source provided some fresh details on precisely what they’re asking for. One of their proposals would alter the way the government calculates inflation. It would thus reduce automatic increases in tax bracket levels and Social Security cost of living adjustments — in effect a regressive tax increase, and a Social Security cut, each of which would result in modest savings.

    Democrats reject this so called “chained CPI” option because they fear Republicans would happily block a balanced spending cut/tax increase package in favor of an automatic Social Security cut.

    Republicans have also proposed “automatic sequestration” — across the board spending cuts, including to entitlements — with no corresponding revenue increases.

    In a retread of a familiar fight, Dems are only willing to consider any options along these lines without corresponding revenues. They worry that the penalty will ultimately be more appealing to the GOP than any possible bipartisan fiscal package, and passively allow it to be triggered. Thus, they’re pushing for the penalty to include decoupling Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans from the rest of the Bush tax cuts, so that they would expire automatically. They’re also open to loophole closures and ending certain tax expenditures.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    McConnell and Schumer will be on Face the Nation in the morning.

  8. northwestrain says:

    Toxic leadership —

  9. northwestrain says:

    It looks to me like that stupid Super Congress — gang of 12 — is being pushed by both dems and Republicans. Looks like both parties are turning the Constitution into TP.

    From BB link above: Both the House and Senate debt limit votes call for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral committe

    FireDogLake has a super vid clip from Harry Belafonte — from his appearance on the Smother’s Brothers show — way back during the Nixon era. We are just now able to view this censored Belafonte song/film montage.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, that is what I’ve been calling Catfood Commission II. It has been in all the bills all along, including Harry Reid’s. I honestly don’t see all that much difference between the Reid and Boehner bills, and now they are both talking about “triggers” that would lead to across the board cuts, including Social Security and Medicare. It’s insane. The Republicans should be celebrating, not blocking the bill. But I guess they think they can get Obama to cave even more.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Geez, what a freaking mess. Thanks for posting this running blog post.

    I spent all day at the mall in ATL. The only place doing any business was the Aeropostle. 3 dollar capri jeans and 7 bucks for a cool shirt. Can’t beat it. Of course all the other shops were dead.

    So the consensuses is O is going to cave? And yet many of the Democrats are calling for him to invoke the 14th?
    That bit about the drastic cuts is frightening.

  11. northwestrain says:

    Go listen to the sweet sweet voice of Harry Belafonte. I got to hear him live on stage at Seattle’s Fifth Ave. Theater.

    If anyone has a strong moral core it is Belafonte and he says of 0bowma:

    “There has never been such a void in moral truth as it now exists,” Belafonte said. “And what the expectation has been for many of us was that Barack Obama would bring to the table a great sense of moral fortitude. I think were he to apply that in the decisions that he would have to make, he would find that his presidency might touch on a level of greatness that he has not yet considered.”

    He added, “He (Obama) has only listened to the voices that shout the loudest, and it’s all those reckless right-wing forces. It’s almost criminal.”

    • dakinikat says:

      That assumes he has the capacity for moral fortitude. He has never exhibited before. What he has is egotude.

      • northwestrain says:

        I very much doubt that Narcissistic 0bowma has any moral core. Belafonte on the other hand is an example of someone with a strong moral core.

        For any other president — people would be out on the street protesting. Whoever chose 0bowma and funded his way to the white house — is a genius — in a very very bad way.0bowma is getting pass from even Belafonte because can’t bring himself to speak the full truth. Belafonte is only now taking a step in the right direction — and he needs to go much further. 0bowma will leave everything he touches in worse shape — than if we had had a strong Democratic majority in the House & Senate and a Republican Prez. And I really hate to say that.