A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 58% of Americans say the debt ceiling should be handled separately from the debate on spending cuts, while 36% favor linking the two. That almost feels like a partisan breakdown (Democrats and Independents making up the 58%, and the Economic Terrorist Party making up the remaining 36%).
It looks like the Hastert Rule is dead and buried. For the second time in as many weeks, the House Majority party has allowed a vote on a measure that did not enjoy majority support within the majority party. The first being the Fiscal Cliff deal, the second being last night’s vote on the additional $50 billion for Hurricane Sandy relief. Only a shocking, mind blowing 49 Republicans, out of a possible 233, voted to aid their fellow citizens in New York and New Jersey. Sure, the measure passed by a 241-180 vote. Those voting no mostly come from the South. So the next a hurricane hits the Red South, or a tornado destroys one of their God-forsaken trailer parks, they should be denied any emergency funding. Since they voted against it in this case, they are against it in all cases going forward. Including in their own cases.
Further, since the Hastert Rule is dead, there is no issue now with bringing a clean debt ceiling bill to the floor for a vote. It will pass easily. And Joel Klein thinks we have seen the future:
We’ve now had two significant bipartisan votes in the House–to raise taxes and to provide storm relief post-Sandy. I see a third one on the horizon, and a fourth. In both cases, a minority of Republicans joined a majority of Democrats to do the right thing. I suspect that this is precisely what we’re going to see on the debt ceiling, especially given the lobbying by huge Republican funders–like the Koch Brothers–in opposition to the Republican plan to sabotage the good faith and credit of the United States. I think a broader version of this same coalition will pass significant immigration reform this year.
Reality seems to be enjoying a sudden burst of momentum this afternoon, as more Republicans and conservatives are coming out and acknowledging the debt ceiling will have to be raised. The latest: GOP Senator Susan Collins. [Ed. note: Collins joins Sen. Lisa Murkowski in this opinion.]
Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley emails me: “Senator Collins recognizes that the debt ceiling is going to have to be raised because the U.S. cannot default on its obligations to pay for spending that has already occurred.”
In the House, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) said on C-SPAN yesterday that his party’s debt-ceiling strategy is “not a good scenario” and raising the debt ceiling is a “mathematical imperative.” What’s more, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told the Wall Street Journal his party should give up this hostage and instead threaten a government shutdown over spending levels, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) hedged yesterday on MSNBC when asked about the possibility of the House allowing a clean debt-ceiling bill to reach the floor.