Repubicans capitulate on shutdown, but catastrophe still looms

NATIONAL — It is still not certain that Congress will send President Barack Obama a bill to sign by Thursday, when the Treasury Department warns the country will start running out of cash to pay its bills for the first time in history, but Republicans have capitulated on the government shutdown and debt ceiling default crisis.

Republicans have clung to the so-called Hastert Rule, which dictates that the House speaker should not allow a vote on any bill that doesn’t have the support of the “majority of the majority.”

A tiny minority — 80 members of Congress — decided to go for broke with an extraordinarily risky plot to force Obama to roll back the historic health reform law, which is expected to become as popular as Social Security and Medicare programs.

Like Social Security and Medicare, the Democrats’ health care overhaul will save trillions of tax dollars in the long run and make medical treatment available for millions of uninsured Americans.

Top Standard and Poor’s analyst John Chambers warned Wednesday that failing to raise the debt ceiling and defaulting on the debt could be worse than the 2008 economic collapse.

“It would be worse than Lehman Brothers in my judgment, and I think it’s needless,” Chambers said on ‘CBS This Morning.’ “The mere fact that we’re having these discussions led us to conclude two years ago that it simply wasn’t appropriate to have a AAA rating on the U.S. government.”

Standard and Poor’s reduced the nation’s credit rating the last time Republicans played chicken with a debt ceiling increase, which is a procedural action that allows the government to pay its bills.

GOP Tea Party politicians used the issue to insist on massive government spending cuts, which aggravated an perilous economic situation caused by high deficits and lawlessness on Wall Street during the Republican Bush administration.

“Republican Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy started the shutdown — and risked the unprecedented debt default — but the crisis will end on President Obama’s terms,” said Democratic strategist James J. Devine. “This proves the weakness of the Republican Party but the cost is going to be felt by real Americans for years to come.”

Devine said the consequences of the Republican scheme will include a slower recovery from the economic gloom caused by the GOP during the Bush years.

“GOP politicians exploit the slow pace of the recovery while ignoring that we are recovering from eight years of Bush Republican policies including unfair tax cuts for the rich, senseless wars, wild deficit spending and lawlessness on Wall Street,” said Devine. “Republicans are making things worse for hard working Americans in the hope that they will profit from discontent they create.”


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