Here Are the GOP's Debt-Ceiling Demands, and They Are Insane

"Delay Obamacare and enact the entire minority party agenda or else ..."

In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. How is that any different than what the Republican Party is doing today? people all over cable news keep asking.

This is how. Obama's vote was a silly symbolic vote that had no consequence, but, crucially, it was also supposed to be a silly symbolic vote that had no consequence. Like many minority parties before them, Democrats used the debt ceiling to make a stink about fiscal policy, but they didn't try to hold the White House—or the international financial community—hostage.

This time is different. National Review snags the details of the House's debt-ceiling demands, and once you get through them, you'll be surprised they didn't ask for free ice cream, a lifetime pass to Disneyland, and a bill to rename the capitol "The Reagan Dome."

  • One Year Debt Limit Increase

    • Not a dollar amount increase, but suspending the debt limit until the end of December 2014.

      • Similar to what we did earlier this year.

    • Want the year long to align with the year delay of Obamacare.

  • One Year Obamacare delay

  • Tax Reform Instructions

    • Similar to a bill we passed last fall, laying out broad from Ryan Budget principles for what tax reform should look like.

    • Gives fast track authority for tax reform legislation

  • Energy and regulatory reforms to promote economic growth

    • Includes pretty much every jobs bill we have passed this year and last Congress

    • All of these policies have important positive economic effects.

    • Energy provisions

      • Keystone Pipeline

      • Coal Ash regulations

      • Offshore drilling

      • Energy production on federal lands

      • EPA Carbon regulations

    • Regulatory reform

      • REINS Act

      • Regulatory process reform

      • Consent decree reform

      • Blocking Net Neutrality

  • Mandatory Spending Reforms

    • Mostly from the sequester replacement bills we passed last year

    • Federal Employee retirement reform

    • Ending the Dodd Frank bailout fund

    • Transitioning CFPB funding to Appropriations

    • Child Tax Credit Reform to prevent fraud

    • Repealing the Social Services Block grant

  • Health Spending Reforms

    • Means testing Medicare

    • Repealing a Medicaid Provider tax gimmick

    • Tort reform

    • Altering Disproportion Share Hospitals

    • Repealing the Public Health trust Fund

Give us everything we want or else we'll destroy the country! is the sort of demand that only a broken party inside a broken system could possibly hope to make. The debt ceiling should not exist and the rules of the Senate and House shouldn't allow a minority to repeatedly extort the majority, but, well, you go to debtmageddon with the government you got. Republicans, inching away from shutdown, are all in on an apocalyptic strategy to trade the full faith and credit of the country for their agenda.

To be fair, some are saying this list is less a ransom note than a menu. Fine. If it's a menu, it's the most expensive prix fixe meal in modern political history.

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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