The fiscal cliff is still unresolved, gun control measures loom on the horizon, and Republicans are mobilizing to block the nomination of a Republican to the Defense job. So this is obviously the right time to start talking about the debt ceiling again.
Tim Geithner put the issue on the national agenda again by informing Congress via letter that the U.S. will reach the debt ceiling on Monday. Well, sort of. Geithner went on to explain that the government can continue to pay its bills for another couple of months — and even longer if the U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff or reaches a deal with any tax increases/spending cuts. So, we’re not going past the debt ceiling on Monday.
This strikes me as a deliberate political move from the Obama administration. Congress was already well-aware of the impending debt ceiling deadline. They even scheduled a vote to address the situation with hilarious results. Geithner is not under any obligation to inform Congress of the need to increase the debt limit when the government has months of additional spending leeway.
Anti-Republican sentiment is soaring after the fiscal cliff negotiations broke down and Wayne LaPierre told America to buy more machine guns if they want their kids to live and the Obama administration is not going to let this political moment pass without tying “debt ceiling” to the mental list Americans have of Republican unreasonability. Media outlets report on the letter. Chat shows invite Republicans to publicly admit that they won’t vote to raise the limit and economists to describe the disastrous effects of Republican opinion. And several months from now, if Republicans don’t resolve the debt ceiling as part of the fiscal cliff resolution, the public opinion battle will be won before it even begins.