“Hastert Rule” Not To Apply To Debt Limit

One ray of hope for sanity from the Republican House of Representatives.

The federal government may not be hit with a double whammy on top of the ongoing shutdown, as House Speaker John Boehner told a group of fellow GOP legislators that he won’t let the nation default on its debt, according to a House Republican.

Boehner said that he’d set aside the “Hastert Rule” — that Republicans would only bring measures up for a vote if they are backed by a majority of their caucus — and rely on Democrats to pass a measure to raise the nation’s debt limit, said the House member. This legislator attended a meeting Wednesday involving Boehner, but requested anonymity because that gathering was private.

Congressional Republicans remain divided on how to structure legislation to raise the government’s borrowing level. And an aide to the House speaker downplayed the development, saying, “Boehner has always said the United States will not default on its debt, so that’s not news.”

Still, at least one Democrat — Sen. Charles Schumer of New York — cheered the prospect of the GOP leader refusing to block at least this measure that President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats strongly support.

“This could be the beginnings of a significant breakthrough,” Schumer said in a statement. “Even coming close to the edge of default is very dangerous, and putting this issue to rest significantly ahead of the default date would allow everyone in the country to breathe a huge sigh of relief.”


Moderate GOP Senators To The Rescue?

Might the mature ones again save the GOP from the circular firing squad of lunatics?

It’s no secret and no surprise that the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential standard-bearer has been critical of the strategy of conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, of trying to use the spending bill and perhaps the debt limit as vehicles to force President Barack Obama to agree to defund or delay his signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

McCain has argued over and over again that this is one battle that the Republicans simply cannot win. 

McCain noted that he’d campaigned against Obamacare during the 2012 campaign and that he’d fought to defeat it on the Senate floor in 2009.

But he added, “In democracies, unfortunately sometimes the majority rules. That’s why we (Republicans) are at a disadvantage in this fight that we’re having.”

He added that “by threatening to shut down the government we are kind of circumventing the results of elections” – an argument that Obama and administration spokesmen have also made.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “faced a barrage of hostile questions Wednesday from angry GOP senators, who lashed the Texas tea party freshman for helping prompt a government shutdown crisis without a strategy to end it,” Politico reports.

“At a closed-door lunch meeting in the Senate’s Mansfield Room, Republican after Republican pressed Cruz to explain how he would propose to end the bitter budget impasse with Democrats, according to senators who attended the meeting. A defensive Cruz had no clear plan to force an end to the shutdown — or explain how he would defund Obamacare, as he has demanded all along, sources said.”

Said one Senate Republican: “He kept trying to change the subject because he never could answer the question. It’s pretty evident it’s never been about a strategy – it’s been about him. That’s unfortunate. I think he’s done our country a major disservice. I think he’s done Republicans a major disservice.”<!–

Time Magazine Cover Sums Up Government Shutdown Caused By Republicans

I want to add here the thrust of the argument about why Democrats need to stop this lunacy being put forth by Republicans.  President Obama summed it up yesterday in an interview to CNBC.

“If we get in the habit where a few folks — an extremist wing of one party, whether it’s Democrat or Republican — are allowed to extort concessions, based on a threat of undermining the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me — not just me — will find themselves unable to govern effectively. …

And that is not something that I’m going to allow to happen. … I’m exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary. … The only thing that’s stopping [passage of a bill to reopen the government at current funding levels] is that John Boehner right now has not been willing to say no to a faction of the Republican party that are willing to burn the house down because of an obsession over my healthcare initiative.”