Here's the list of approaching moments where the GOP will put a gun to the head of the American economy and say, "give us what we want, or else."
1. The sequester, February 28, 2013. You already know about this one because of my previous post.
2. The debt ceiling, probably sometime in March 2013. That's been in the news too. If the Republicans in the House won't raise the debt ceiling, then the government can't borrow more money to do the spending that Congress has already authorized. Government spending would have to shrink to the level funded by current receipts.
3. The Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by Congress last September Expires on March 27, 2013. If this doesn't get extended before then, we'd get a government shutdown.
This was where the fun (for extremely perverse values of 'fun') started in 2011, if you recall: that year's continuing resolution expired in late February of that year, and Boehner successfully demanded $4 billion in cuts for a 2-week extension, and then an additional $6 billion in cuts for an additional 3-week extension, before they finally worked out a CR deal for the rest of the fiscal year. Those short extensions were when we all found out how easy it was for Obama to be rolled, and set the stage for the debt ceiling negotiations that summer.
Anyhow, that's what we're looking at: three distinct opportunities for GOP extortion, probably all happening within four weeks' time of each other. And that's on top of the one we just got through.
Thank you, Republican Party, for turning our government into a continuing clown show. You guys really do hate America, don't you?
Update, Jan. 4: just a couple of odd thoughts about the debt ceiling I'd like to throw out.
1) I'm all for the trillion-dollar platinum coin. Sign the White House petition! Actually, I'd like to see them mint five of them, not just one, because that would take care of the debt ceiling problem throughout the remainder of Obama's Presidency.
And I'm specifically for the deal that Josh Barro suggests at the first link, where Obama would give up his authority to mint high-denomination platinum coins in exchange for the permanent abolition of the debt limit.
2) Since my guess is that Obama isn't going to go that route, he should have the following short blurb memorized, to repeat at all appropriate occasions:
"It is up to the House of Representatives to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling. There would be dire consequences for the nation if the debt ceiling is not raised, so they must pass a bill.
"And the bill must originate with the House, which the Republicans control. Everyone knows what I want and expect: a clean bill that raises the debt ceiling, full stop. If the House passes such a bill, it will undoubtedly pass the Senate, and I will sign it into law. But if the Republicans want something different, they can use their control the House of Representatives to pass their own debt ceiling bill and send it to the Senate, and we will see what happens from there. But the only proposal that will originate from the Executive Branch is that of a clean and unencumbered increase in the debt limit."
The key thing here is to force the Republicans to publicly own their position. If they want spending cuts as the price of a debt ceiling increase, force them to name and vote for those cuts. This is the grownup-in-the-room approach: tell the kids they've got to clean up their room, so get on with it already.