Meanwhile, the GOP does have some procedural Congressional advantages that actually will hurt the Dems’ image at no cost to the GOP: the debt limit vote.
Donald Marron notes that, while the public doesn’t like it, the Senate has no choice but to raise the debt limit. The alternative — defaulting on debt — is unimaginable. The majority party in power absolutely must vote to raise the debt limit. The minority, knowing this, is free to oppose it and let the majority suffer the public image consequences.
Yesterday the Senate voted to increase the debt limit from $12.4 trillion to $14.3 trillion, and sure enough it was a party line vote, 60 D to 39 R (one Republican not voting).
To illustrate this point, Marron went back and made a graph showing how the vote to increase the debt limit has varied with majority rule:
When the Republicans held the majority, the Democrats left it up to them to pass the increase. When the Senate was more evenly divided, so was the vote. And now the Republicans are freeriding on the Democrats.
Of course, most voters don’t know about the inner workings. They just hear that the Democrats voted to increase the debt limit while the Republicans unanimously opposed it.
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