Could the GOP’s bill be a prelude to ending the debt limit?
The GOP’s proposal before the House on Wednesday, which enjoys qualified White House support, would suspend the federal government’s borrowing limit for roughly four months, taking a powerful but controversial bargaining chip off the table. When reinstated on May 19, the debt ceiling would be raised to include whatever additional debt the government has taken on in the intervening period. Rather than commit to specific increases in the debt ceiling, the new plan obviates the issue altogether. …
But the new plan has an added advantage for Republicans: It renders moot the GOP’s recent demand that a debt-ceiling increase be matched with an equal amount of spending cuts over the next decade. The bill would also withhold pay, albeit temporarily, from lawmakers in the Senate should the chamber fail to pass a budge before April 15. ///
Many economists argue that the country would be better off without a statutory cap on borrowing. In a survey published last week, 38 economists were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “A separate debt ceiling that has to be increased periodically creates unneeded uncertainty and can potentially lead to worse fiscal outcomes.” Just under 85 percent said they agreed or strongly agreed.