No government shutdown. No workers forced to take unpaid furlough. No additional blow to our struggling economy. Another crisis averted. Right?
Congressional Republicans may not be replicating the disastrous shutdown strategy of their Newt Gingrich-led predecessors from two decades ago, but they are slyly executing the next worst thing: forcing our government to lurch from one near-crisis to the next.
The summer debt limit deal only kept our government open until the end of this month. Today’s deal only keeps the doors open until November.
The only thing uncertain about what will happen in November is what penny-ante excuse will Republicans come up with to make the next compromise take as long as possible and rattle as many nerves as possible.
Why do congressional Republicans bother with this charade?
Because instead of getting blamed for brazenly provoking completely dysfunctional government, the GOP is betting that subtly creating barely functioning government will frustrate the public while deflecting the blame towards the President.
Congressional Republicans know that taking the government to the brink of shutdown every few months will do nothing for the people but keep the lights on, at a time when the public is demanding bold action to solve the jobs crisis.
Making government look impotent and silly serves the anti-government agenda of the modern Republican quite nicely.
These are the same Republicans that cried “Uncertainty!” every time that the last Democratic Congress tried to solve a tough problem that weighed down our economy, like rising health care costs or reckless banker behavior.
Yet now they actively try to sow uncertainty whether our government will be able to pay its debt obligations or keep its doors open.
If they actually cared about providing certainty to businesses and consumers, Republicans will enter into good-faith negotiations to forge lasting compromises to solve problems.
Resolutions provide certainty. Perpetual debates over festering problems, as well as continual threats to repeal new laws that aim to solve problems, literally make it uncertain what our government will do – is able to do – next.
But providing certainty is not the objective for congressional Republicans. Hobbling government is.
They hope you won’t figure that out.