Senate Passage of Government Funding Bill Is Probably Bad News

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 27 2013 1:08 PM

Senate Passage of Government Funding Bill Is Probably Bad News

181940581
Ted Cruz prays with members of the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House on Friday.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The good news for America is that the Senate just invoked cloture on a bill that will keep the government funded and won't repeal Obamacare. Which is to say that enough Republicans broke with Ted Cruz to shut down his insane effort to force the country into a government shutdown over his bitterness that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election.

The bad news is that if the government doesn't shut down, the alternative may be worse.

Advertisement

There are now basically three options facing House Speaker John Boehner. One is to do the right thing, fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, relying on Democratic votes if necessary. That seems to be out of the question. Another option is to stand and fight on Ted Cruz's terms. That means the government will shut down on Oct. 1, and we'll have a couple of weeks in which to see if the absence of government services causes the conservative position to collapse, forcing them to cave on both government funding and the debt ceiling. The third and worst option is to strong-arm his caucus into giving Obama what he wants on avoiding a government shutdown by promising to demand the entire Mitt Romney economic policy agenda as the price for raising the debt ceiling.

If Boehner makes that promise, the stage is set for a serious political and constitutional crisis. There's just no way Obama can surrender to that demand. And the fact that the demand can be made at all underscores why in fact Obama can't surrender anything to Boehner in exchange for the debt ceiling. An increase in the debt ceiling isn't something Obama "wants" and ought to consider trading for other stuff. It's simply the case that the debt ceiling must go up to avert a catastrophe. Boehner himself acknowledges that it must go up. You bargain over things you disagree about, not over things you both think are necessary.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.