We’ve mentioned before that the one clean way to avoid a national debt default is a discharge petition in which a small number (at least 6) of House Republicans join with Democrats to force a vote on a clean debt ceiling. Once that happens, the two sides can get down to negotiating a budget. But today, Don Bacon (R-NE) — Washington’s favorite GOP “moderate” — came out categorically against the idea. As reporter and TPM alum Sahil Kapur puts it, if Bacon won’t do it probably no Republicans will.
In announcing his alliance with Freedom Caucus hardliners, Bacon went the extra step of endorsing their false claims about negotiations. “I think [the discharge petition approach is] DOA. Because the president’s got to make some compromises with Republicans. For him to say my way or the highway — no way.”
This is absurd. The President has made clear he’ll negotiate a budget. That’s how the system works. The White House, the House and the Senate have to agree on a budget for the government to function. What he has said he won’t do is negotiate over whether the House will force the United States to default on its debt obligations for the first time in almost 250 years.
I’m sure Bacon is a decent fellow in many ways. But this is today’s Republican Party. It’s run by the Freedom Caucus. Even those who know better fall in line.