As the nation inched closer to default, due entirely to the latest Republican debt ceiling crisis, GOP senators presented a ransom note featuring only one demand: Democrats had to raise the ceiling through the reconciliation process, assigning the debt a specific dollar figure that Republicans could use as a political weapon. If not, the GOP would crash the economy on purpose.
Democrats not only opposed the idea, they explained that it was procedurally impossible, since there wasn't enough time to jump through the many legislative hoops.
It led Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to present an offer: Republicans would accept a brief extension of the nation's borrowing limit in order to give Democrats more time to pay the GOP's ransom.
Senate Republicans hated the plan. In fact, when it came time to pass McConnell's plan, GOP leaders struggled to find the necessary votes just to end their own party's filibuster. When McConnell's plan reached the floor, nearly 80 percent of Senate Republicans backed a filibuster to derail it and 100 percent of Senate Republicans voted against it.
Last night, as NBC News reported, the same bill reached the House floor, where it faced a similar reception.
The House voted Tuesday to pass a short-term increase in the debt ceiling to enable the Treasury to continue borrowing money to pay the bills for two months, setting up another round of fighting about the limit. The House voted 219-206 on partisan lines.
As the roll call shows, literally zero House Republicans, including the ostensible "moderates," approved the stopgap measure.
These GOP lawmakers knew the bill would pass. They also knew that failure would lead to default and an economic catastrophe. They even knew that it was a leader from their own party who came up with the proposal in the first place. And yet, not one House Republican was willing to support McConnell's plan to give Democrats more time to pay the GOP's ransom.
It's almost as if the party is wholly uninterested in governing.
The measure now heads to the White House, where President Joe Biden will sign the bill into law with five days to spare before the default deadline.
In the process, this will start the clock on the next Republican debt ceiling deadline, which is now expected to arrive on Dec. 3 — the same day as the next government-shutdown deadline.
That said, Dec. 3 is an estimate, which was recently set by the Treasury Department. As federal tax receipts rapidly increase amidst a growing economy, it's entirely possible that Congress will have some additional weeks beyond Dec. 3 to raise the debt ceiling.