Sorry for the double negative in the headline, but the Budget Control Act made me do it.
You remember the Budget Control Act? This is the law embodying the debt ceiling increase enacted this past August. This is the same law that created the anything-but-super committee that failed in November to agree on a deficit reduction plan.
The debt ceiling increase formally requested by the White House today is the third the Budget Control Act allows. The first occurred when the law was signed. The second went into effect in September when Congress failed to disapprove the request. Today’s $1.2 trillion request is the third…and largest…the law allows.
Congress now has 15 days to consider and, if it can muster the votes, disapprove the request. That may happen in the House but almost certainly won’t happen in the Senate. But even if the Senate went along, the president could/would/will veto the resolution and, because there isn’t a two-thirds vote in either house to override the veto, the debt ceiling will be raised.
(For the record, not only aren’t there enough votes to override a veto of a disapproval resolution, there may not be a two-thirds vote to override a veto of almost anything, including legislation declaring today Thursday.
Also for the record, as I posted last month, the White House originally wanted to make this request at the end of December when, as required by the Budget Control Act, the federal government was within $100 billion of the existing debt ceiling. That request would have meant that the 15-day period during which a disapproval resolution was allowed to be considered would have expired before Congress returned from its holiday recess. To accommodate the GOP congressional leadership, which wanted to give its members a chance to vote on a disapproval resolution even though it had virtually no chance of actually being disapproved, the White House delayed its request until today. To do that, Treasury had to resort to some of the cash management gimmicks congressional Republicans have criticized in the past such as taking funds funds out of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.