Speaking of our impossibly dumb politics:
Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this week and a federal debt default next month, moving the nation closer to the brink of fiscal crisis as they refused to allow Democrats to lift the limit on federal borrowing.
With a Thursday deadline looming to fund the government — and the country moving closer to a catastrophic debt-limit breach — the stalemate in the Senate reflected a bid by Republicans to undercut President Biden and top Democrats at a critical moment, as they labor to keep the government running and enact an ambitious domestic agenda.
Republicans who had voted to raise the debt cap by trillions when their party controlled Washington argued on Monday that Democrats must shoulder the entire political burden for doing so now, given that they control the White House and both houses of Congress.
Note that there is no actual dispute here. Everyone agrees that the US should not default on its debt. Republicans just want to engage in cynical blame-shifting for their own fiscal responsibility. And because of anti-democratic institutional mechanisms some “moderate” Democrats who for some reason run for office although they have no actual interest in governing refuse to change, there is no easy way for the congressional majority party to just do it. (The hint to just get rid of the filibuster rather than allowing Republicans to do this kind of hostage-taking could not be more obvious, but good luck convincing the Manchema of that.) And of course the entire concept of a “debt ceiling” is incredibly stupid and counterproductive, but if there’s one thing Congress loves it’s inventing things that make already anachronistic and fractured constitutional structures even more sclerotic.
And needless to say our elite political press will do its part to make things worse: