The new Republican House rules proposal is out, and people are rightly guffawing about the vow to read the Constitution on the House floor at the beginning of the session. But if silliness like this is the worst that the GOP House can do, we’ll all be happy to get out of the next two years intact. The actual threats come from things like this:
House Republicans set to release their recommended rules changes Wednesday will change the names of several committees and repeal a rule making it more difficult to raise the debt ceiling.
They will also require that all bills be posted online three days before a vote [...]
The draft rules would repeal the “Gephardt Rule” that allows the House to raise the debt limit automatically when a conference report on the budget is approved. If the rule is repealed, a separate vote on raising the debt ceiling must be held.
(The committee name changes are hilarious; they are changing Education and Labor to Education and the Workforce so they don’t have to use the horrible word “Labor.”)
Making the debt limit vote separate prevents the ability for it to be a less palatable vote for Republicans. It appears to prevent a merging of the budget resolution to fund the government in March and the debt limit. So it makes that a separate hostage-taking event.
Another part of the House rules includes “CutGo,” mandating that all spending increases get offset by cuts elsewhere and not tax increases (tax reductions would not have to be offset in this way).
Ultimately that’s going to be the legacy of the lame duck session. I think moving forward on all these bills in the lame duck was great. But the budget hostage crisis will be the inevitable result of keeping taxes low, failing to make appropriations for the full fiscal year and not raising the debt limit. And it’s going to result in a lot of pain for a lot of struggling people. The President could at least limit the damage by refusing to sign any bill that would hurt the economy (another way of saying reducing aggregate demand), but I’m not sanguine that he’ll choose to do that.
This could have at least been delayed, though ultimately not stopped. But the House rules will put the fix in on the budget.
In other rules changes, the GOP may take away Eleanor Holmes Norton’s voting privileges as the Representative from DC. It wouldn’t be the Republican caucus without taking voting rights away from an African-American.