Here’s Just How Dysfunctional Our Government Really Is

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You've probably heard something about how the country is trillions in debt, and that because we can't control the deficit we need to raise the national debt limit again so the government can legally borrow more money. Now it looks like we can't even agree to do that. A proposal made today is, on the one hand, totally irresponsible, but on the other hand, is also cowardly and ridiculous.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans and the White House have been negotiating over whether there will be spending cuts, tax increases, or some of both, and you can guess who takes what position. Today (July 12), Congressional leaders expressed pessimism that they could reach an agreement on something that Congress could pass and the President could sign. This would mean, if there is no agreement by August 2, that the government would run out of money. Of course, everybody understands that the debt limit has to be raised at least in the short term, but nobody (Republican or Democrat) wants to be blamed for doing it.

So here's what is now being proposed.

Under a suggestion made by Sen. Mitch McConnell, Congress would not vote to raise the debt limit. But it would also not vote not to raise the debt limit. Instead, it would vote in favor of a "resolution of disapproval" of any increase in the debt limit, expecting that the President would then veto the resolution of disapproval, a veto that Congress would then fail to override, the net result being an approval of the increase, for which Congress would then blame the President.

If that didn't make sense right away, congratulations: you are sane.

In other words, Congress would approve a resolution of disapproval in order to force the President to disapprove that disapproval, which would turn it into an approval, one that Congress knows it would be unable to re-disapprove. That would leave us with the interim approval-by-veto, so that the limit would somehow end up being raised even though neither branch would have actually cast any vote in favor of anything.

I have a feeling that may be unconstitutional, but my head already hurts too much to think that through. So for now I'm just going to go with hating everybody involved in this process.