Even if the debt limit fight is resolved without lasting consequences for the country, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) predicted Tuesday that the country will face more perilous brinksmanship when funding for the federal government expires at the end of September.
In response to a question from another reporter, Hoyer distinguished between the appropriations impasse of 1995, which resulted in a weeks-long government shutdown, and the current fight over borrowing authority, which could result in a debt default, and, which Hoyer noted, is much, much graver. But don’t assume that the GOP will lose its appetite for confrontation after this fight’s over.
“You can shut down the government for two or three days, five days, a week, that’s not good, we saw that in Minnesota, it’s not good policy,” Hoyer cautioned. “But you’re not putting the image, and credit, and standing of the United States at risk. That’s what we’re doing today.”
He continued. “This is not analogous to ‘95. This was a dispute — and very frankly I think we’re going to be back at that dispute come October 1 of this year. They passed appropriation bills that won’t pass the Senate. They know that. This is a crowd that is committed to simply its political, ideological agenda. Not to making law.”
Just to put a fine point on this: Since the GOP took over the House this year, the government narrowly avoided a shutdown in the Spring, is teetering on the brink of a debt default now, and, according to Hoyer, may end up fully shutdown this fall.
And if Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gets his way, we’ll see a repeat of this debt limit crisis early next year. Sensing a pattern here? So is Hoyer, At the end of his briefing, in response to no particular question, Hoyer said to himself “I can not believe what we’re doing.” Emphasis his.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.