According to reports, Treasury officials say President Obama will ask for another $1.2 trillion in new borrowing authority this Friday. This would be the third and final increase provided for by the so-called Budget Control Act (BCA), and would lift the nation’s debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion. According to the BCA, Congress would have until January 14th to reject the request, though a rejection could be vetoed by President Obama. In short, the debt ceiling will rise again!
The Associate Press provides some context:
The enormity of the debt has also stoked a debate in Congress over spending and taxes. Polls show growing voter anger with the inability of both parties to reach solutions to the country’s budget problems.
In August, Congress and the administration agreed to raise the borrowing limit by $2.1 trillion in three steps. The deal was reached hours before a potential default on the nation’s debt and only after the parties also agreed to cut more than $2 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years.
Here’s the thing, though: spending is going up, not down.
As we plod toward a new year, Washington is cloaked in a gloomy overcast. The dreariness extends well beyond Washington, though. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, dark times have also fallen on the solar sector:
Long viewed as a remedy for the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, the solar industry is dimming as makers of panels used to harness the sun continue to fall by the wayside.
Bankruptcies, plummeting stock prices and crushing debt loads are calling into question the viability of an industry that since the 1970s has been counted on to advance the U.S.—and the world—into a new energy age.
Raise your hand if you’re surprised!
Last week’s payroll tax “compromise” all but guarantees another high profile fight early next year. President Obama claims he wants it to be done “without drama.” Looking at his rhetoric, however, you cannot help but conclude he is more than ready to create some drama of his own.
I explain in my weekly column:
As is so often the case in Washington, Congress produced a Thursday night miracle, striking a deal to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the so-called doc fix for another two months. That “miracle” all but guaranteed another brutal political fight at the end of February. It also gives President Obama and Senate Democrats yet another opportunity to raise taxes on hard working Americans.
From the Washington Post:
“I’ve talked to Senate Republicans, plural, who think there should be a fair tax on rich people,” [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said. “I’m going to make sure that my conferees understand that this could be part of what we try to do.”
Given that Dems dropped the millionaire surtax during the talks over the payroll tax cut earlier this month, you’d be forgiven for concluding that Dems may not take it up again. But when it comes to paying for the year-long extension, the two parties remain far apart, and Republicans are going to push for still more spending cuts.
Prior to striking a two-month deal, President Obama and Senate Democrats had taken job-destroying tax hikes off the table. Emboldened, Senator Reid now renewing his push for a policy that cannot even pass his chamber.
The Hill describes the plan:
In the midst of Hanukkah and with Christmas fast approaching, Congress has been embroiled in a battle over how to extend the payroll tax cut for another year (or 2-months, or 3-months.) With the focus so heavily on this one issue, the media was looking for anything to report on not related to the tax cut. Enter The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes, who wrote a familiar piece, noting the Washington Establishment does not like it when we hold them accountable.
In response, our Communications Director, Dan Holler, wrote a blog outlining why we exist: to keep Congress accountable, even on small issues:
“Mr. Barnes heralds a nine-month reprieve for the incandescent light bulb as a “small…victory.” It is ironic (and unfortunate) that pundits choose to tout small victories while ignoring the many small defeats (i.e., expansion of ineffective grant programs). Heritage Action’s scorecard is “hugely influential” precisely because it doesn’t ignore these type of votes…and we never will.”