06 October 2013
The opposite of clean
On one of the Sunday talk shows Speaker Boehner assured his interlocutors that the House of Representatives would not pass a "clean" bill to raise the debt ceiling. He meant that such a bill, which must pass before October 17, must include new spending cuts. You can expect nothing else from Republicans, but Boehner's choice of words show at least one way that Democrats are controlling the debate over the shutdown and the debt ceiling. The Speaker appears to have accepted the Democratic definition of a "clean" bill as one without concessions from the President or the Senate -- from the Democratic point of view, a bill not tainted by Republican extortion. Boehner obviously meant to say that there can be no end to the partial government shutdown, nor a raising of the debt ceiling, without "compromise" from the Democrats. But by using Democratic terminology Boehner begs a question: if the Republicans get that way, does that make these dirty bills? Draw your own conclusions.