If there is one overriding message that Congress should get this year, it is, “Don’t screw it up.” By that we mean a national economic recovery that seems to be getting a head of steam.
Yet the notion that politicians would be responsible enough to ease up on controversy appears remote.
The nation’s check-writer, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, has warned leaders of Congress for the second time that the country will run out of ready cash come next month, unless Congress passes the debt ceiling approval that is required.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in response that there’s no way a “clean” approval of the debt ceiling will be passed by the Republican-led House.
Translation: We’re going to put at risk the nation’s ability to pay its legitimate bills by demanding some piece of legislative flesh from President Barack Obama.
This is just plain stupid, given what we see is the strategic goal of stability. Fomenting a budget crisis over the debt ceiling, an unfortunate necessity of governing this country, would be wrong in principle and particularly wrong in timing.
What the GOP might demand from the president could include approval of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline. We support that project, but it’s not worth rattling the economy at this time.
The president has made a pretty firm pledge that he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. That’s the right thing, although in the way of the Washington world there will be some indirect give and take over specific spending issues.
What we deplore is a full-blown crisis for small-ball political gain. The Louisiana delegation should stand on the side of stable fiscal policy this year.