All 53 Senate Dems sign letter to Boehner: Your bill will never pass

Awfully nice of them to give Boehner one more little boost on the eve of tomorrow’s vote by calling the House GOP’s bluff like this.

Default it is, then.

Dear Speaker Boehner,

With five days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, we need to work together to ensure that our nation does not default on our obligations for the first time in our history. We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why.

A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it. Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months. Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating. If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit. Even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide.

In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans.

We now have only five days left to act. The entire world is watching Congress. We need to do the right thing to solve this problem. We must work together to avoid a default the responsible way – not in a way that will do America more harm than good.

So that’s how this story ends. With the party of endless spending and entitlements unto death lecturing fiscal conservatives on how they’re leading the country into a credit downgrade. Perfecto.

Politico reports that Mitch McConnell is huddling with Biden to forge some sort of face-saving deus-ex-machina compromise. The story’s thin on details, but since McConnell’s involved and the only big remaining stumbling block is whether the final deal is short-term or long-term, I assume they’re trying to work out a way to combine McConnell’s original proposal about giving Obama more unilateral control over raising the ceiling with Boehner’s bill. E.g., instead of making next year’s debt-ceiling increase contingent upon Congress enacting the new commission’s debt-reduction recommendations, it might grant Obama the power to increase it himself in return for deeper, front-loaded cuts. But that’s just me speculating. We’ll know more tomorrow.

As a late evening dessert, here’s Chris Christie dumping on Obama for not producing his own plan. According to Rich Lowry, Boehner’s getting closer to 218 — but he’s not there yet.