Thursday, July 28, 2011
Debt Ceiling Debate--Civics 101
Bills do not become law unless they are passed by BOTH houses of Congress. If the House bill and the Senate bill do not match exactly, then they must be reconciled by a Conference Committee containing members of both houses and both parties.
The exact wording of the final bill must be agreed upon before it is sent to the President for his signature. If the President vetoes the bill, that veto can be overturned only if two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to override.
The fact that the House has passed a bill their members can accept (Cut, Cap, Balance) is irrelevant because a majority of Senators have vowed not to pass it. There is no bill until BOTH chambers pass it.
As to the charge that the President somehow precipitated this "crisis" by failing to have a budget fight earlier; Debt Ceiling increases have never been tied to a budget fight before.
A Debt Ceiling increase has in the past been acknowledged by both parties to be necessary to the working of our government. As we all know by now, the Debt Ceiling was raised at least seven times without incident during the G. W. Bush administration, and eighteen times without incident under Reagan.
An earlier budget proposal from the President (!) would not have averted this showdown, as many have claimed.
The BUDGET should be debated--(and a budget that incudes spending cuts and revenue increases would be a good thing.)
But let's have THAT debate AFTER we pay the bills we have already incurred.