As expected, the House failed to pass a “clean” bill on Tuesday that would have raised the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, by a vote of 97-318. In a rare occurrence, but one that perfectly encapsulated the theatrics of this debate, the sponsor of the measure, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced the bill and simultaneously announced his opposition to it, because it failed to include spending cuts to accompany the debt ceiling increase. Notwithstanding the illogical result of an author of a piece of legislation complaining that it lacked certain provisions, the vote was pure political theater intended to provide conservative freshman cover for a later vote to raise the debt ceiling. That said, it is entirely probable that many of these freshman will not be willing to take a “Kerry-esque” “against it, before they were for it” vote, and it is also unclear how many Democrats will be willing to resist the political appeal of letting the vote go down on the lack of tea party support. As we draw closer to the August 2nd date, we should expect more gamesmanship as both sides attempt to extract as much political “juice” from the issue while simultaneously engaging in a game of chicken with dramatic ramifications for the nation.
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