The summer rerun season on television is bad enough, but now here we go with another fall stretch in Washington to boot.
Two familiar topics are at the center of this controversy, their political gravity apparently so strong that lawmakers and the White House are unable to find escape velocity. One is the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, depending on your perspective. The second is the national debt ceiling, which apparently will never get high enough.
In this melodrama, we again have a tired and ultimately pointless plot. Congress has approved a certain amount of spending and, as usual, that spending requires more borrowing. But Congress sets the limit for how much can be borrowed and has to act to raise that limit. So here, the plot thickens. House Republicans say they are willing to go along with a higher debt ceiling, but they want Obamacare defunded in return, a condition that won’t pass the Senate and one that President Obama most assuredly won’t sign. It is the 42nd attempt by the House GOP to kill the health act.
Here is what is most certainly going to happen. The debt ceiling will be raised. It would be a new level of incompetence if lawmakers were to let the United States default on its debt. It will be raised after some drama, but government officials will find ways to pay bills until a solution is reached, even if that comes after the so-called deadline. The national health act will not be repealed or defunded, and will continue to barrel down the tracks to what certainly looks like a train wreck in the making. And there will be a 43rd, 44th, 45th and so on vote by the House GOP to defund/kill Obamacare, at least until everyone goes home to campaign next year.
Oh, and the federal government — Democrats and Republicans alike — will never learn how to function within its means, so we’ll keep on borrowing against our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Please! Someone turn the channel!
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board