Pictured: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has claimed victory over Democrats in the coming fiscal battles to be had in Congress. God help us all.
Color me a bit skeptical, because in this case, we’re talking about Mitch McConnell. And what McConnell calls a win is something the rest of us might call “more of the same.” But…
In an interview with the New York Times, the Senate Majority Leader said that a provision within the aid bill/debt ceiling deal actually extends the fight to sometime in late 2018.
That will delay the need for another increase in the debt limit well beyond the December deadline that Democrats have been trumpeting as their big moment of leverage. And Mr. McConnell said he did so over the objections of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader and aforementioned counterpart.
In fact, Mr. McConnell said, the debt limit will not have to be increased until well into 2018, taking that volatile subject off the table for the December spending talks, and eliminating the Democrats’ most dangerous bargaining chip in the first round of negotiations.
Separating the debt ceiling from the deadline to fund the government also addresses one of the main complaints of conservatives who were unhappy that last week’s legislation linked hurricane relief and the increase in the debt limit, forcing many to either cast a debt limit vote they were unhappy about or to oppose hurricane relief.
Now, on the face of it, it does seem like a win for Republicans, and that win would undercut two groups of people who are indeed celebrating a bit too early: The Democrats and the Trump Supporters.
Because, let’s face it, you are taking a big bargaining chip away from Democrats who do have the numbers to hold things up in the Senate, and such a victory is big for Republican leadership, who walked away from the “negotiations” seemingly empty-handed… much to the delight of ardent Trump supporters, who see the President as having done no wrong.
However, this is Republican leadership we’re talking about, and so what they have done is extended the fight until an election year, and an election year that is historically bad for a party in power.
Moreover, any “victory” Mitch McConnell claims is likely tainted by the fact that he is Mitch McConnell, and therefore we can expect more Republican-style big government out of it, rather than solid, conservative reform.