There’s a legislative train coming; it can’t be stopped; it will plow through anything that wants to stand in its way. The Federal debt limit has been reached, and as of July 31st, it applies once again to the actions of the Federal Government. The fiscal crisis is inescapable and only a legislative solution can address it. And, there will be the only amendment to that bill that matters — Joe Manchin’s version of a voting rights bill — and it will be passed in the Senate.
Treasury is already taking steps to address the crisis but they are only temporary. Here’s what’s happening right now. As our friends at CNBC tell us:
· The Treasury Department will begin conducting emergency cash-conservation steps.
· Economists say those so-called extraordinary measures will allow Treasury to pay off the government’s bills without issuing new debt for up to three months.
· That should buy Congress enough time to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. The alternative would be a never-before-seen default on U.S. debt.
By November 1st, President Biden’s “hard” infrastructure bill will be the law of the land; the “human” infrastructure bill will have either been passed by the reconciliation process or not. The point is that those issues will be resolved — one way or the other — and the political focus will be solely on voting rights and COVID, the latter of which makes voting flexibility (mail-in, absentee, etc.) a national health issue. At least eighteen states will have passed restrictive voting rights laws and those laws will already be the subject of Federal litigation.
At that point, the Federal Government will not be able to pay its bills. The House will pass a “clean” debt limit bill (i.e., without the Manchin voting rights amendment). The Senate will take up the House bill and the Manchin amendment will pass with fifty Democratic votes. The Republicans will either filibuster that bill or not. If they filibuster the bill, the Federal Government will shut down and the Republicans will be standing there, opposing voting rights legislation with a Federal mandate for voter identification (a long-standing goal of the GOP) and being responsible for the government shut-down.