Senate Democrats and GOP Make Tentative Deal: Can = Kicked.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced a tentative deal Wednesday afternoon meant to end the ongoing partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. As I predicted, this deal was pushed through in the 11th hour, just in time to avoid a federal default scenario.

As Politico reports on details of the deal: 

The bill will barely scathe Obamacare, however, and putting it on the floor will mark a huge concession by the House after sparking a 16-day government shutdown over insistence that the health care law be defunded or delayed as a condition to keep the government open. Dozens of conservatives in the House will be disappointed by the proposal and Boehner will need Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to deliver a bevy of votes to pass the bill.

Reid (D-Nev.) and McConnell (R-Ky.) are very close to finishing an agreement to reopen the government through Jan. 15, lift the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and develop a bicameral budget committee that would be required to develop a conference report by Dec. 13.

The plan includes a proposal offered by McConnell in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis that allows Congress to disapprove of the debt ceiling increase, which means lawmakers will formally vote on whether to reject of the debt ceiling increase until Feb. 7. Obama can veto that legislation if it passes. If Congress fails as expected to gather a two-thirds majority to override the veto, the debt ceiling would be raised.

The deal would also deliver back pay to furloughed federal workers, require income verification for people seeking health-insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and also allow the Treasury Department to use extraordinary measures to pay the nation’s bills if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Feb. 7.

In the grand scheme of things, the deal is meaningless. The can has been kicked to February. We will go through this again at that time. There will be great anxiety and wringing of hands, but the can will likely be kicked again at that time as well. This has merely been a repeat of previous debt crises, with one key difference: larger segments of the population are beginning to understand that the federal debt is a serious problem.

Past debt and budget crises, such as the ones in 1995 and 1990, would pass with nary a further word said on the issue until the next crisis. Mainstream Democrats and Republicans have been all too happy to sweep the debt under the rug for years, but with the advent of the Tea Party, this may no longer be possible. Emphasis on attacking the growing debt is one of the main tenets of Tea Party organizations. This is good. It has been a long time since America has had any large political voices bringing attention to the debt.

This means that the public will not be able to totally ignore the problem; the Tea Party will hopefully keep at least a tiny flicker of awareness alive in people’s minds.  There will likely be no significant action from voters until taxes begin going up, but at least this shows that voters are beginning to understand what’s going on and understand what politicians have been sweeping under the rug for so long.

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