This week, House Republicans made a startling about face on the issue of the debt ceiling. In the past, the GOP leadership and prominent conservative members have refused to take a clean, simple increase to the debt ceiling. You may remember that this defiance led to a downgrade in the U.S. credit rating.
That seems to have changed, at least publicly and partially. Eric Cantor , House majority leader, made an offer to extend the debt ceiling for three months with the intent of giving Congress time to pass a responsible budget. In addition, Cantor's proposal would stop members of Congress from being paid if they fail to pass a budget in that timeframe.
It's refreshing to see even some compromise in Washington, especially when it comes with real solutions for getting our legislature in gear. Not getting paid will probably be a good motivator.
Here's my concern: Republicans will kill this because it's a break from the lock-step of the GOP line against debt ceiling increases. Also, Democrats may kill it because it was proposed by a Republican and/or it doesn't go far enough. Moderate members of either party will probably support it, but moderation is in a minority these days. My prediction is that Cantor will walk this one back after a long talk with the GOP establishment, and we'll be back to square one.
I think Cantor has the right idea with this, though. Hold the feet of Congress to the fire, and give them a real deadline when they will get burned if they don't act.