The Debt Ceiling Wasn’t Raised, Just Disregarded


On Wednesday, Congress reached a deal to disregard the $16.4 trillion limit on government borrowing and re-open the Federal government. The deal has been widely touted as a measure to raise the Nation’s debt ceiling—in reality, however, the deal simply suspends the current debt ceiling, giving the Federal government open-ended spending power through Feb. 7.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains how the government disregards the debt ceiling using an idea Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office came up with in 2011:

The way it works is that the president gets the power to raise the debt ceiling and then Congress gets an opportunity to take a vote of “disapproval.” If that vote passes Congress, then the president can veto the disapproval rule. If Congress can muster the two-thirds majority to overturn the veto, then the president’s debt-ceiling increase is rejected.

In other words, the debt ceiling vote goes from a vote where a majority of Congress needs to vote in favor of it to a vote where up to two-thirds of Congress can vote against it.

We’ve been using the McConnell mechanism to raise the debt ceiling since 2011. If we made the McConnell mechanism permanent — something the Obama administration favors — it would basically disarm the debt ceiling forever. But last night’s deal didn’t make the McConnell mechanism permanent. It’s only valid until Feb. 7, 2014.

In other words, there is no limit to how much debt the government can accumulate between now and Feb. 7, and lawmakers have gotten away with allowing the country to take on debt and avoid the threat of default without ever being responsible for voting for debt limit increase.

“Suspending the debt ceiling without a dollar amount is further proof that Congress is taking a major step backward in fiscal responsibility,” David Williams, the president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told The Daily Caller. “A real dollar figure is a constant reminder to taxpayers and Congress that the country is broke. This was done to hide the real debt from taxpayers.”

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • JimH

    I would tell my ex-wife this is how much we can afford. She would say, ok, and then borrow as much as she wanted and buy what ever she needed(wanted)
    Want isn’t need.
    She should run as a Dem for Senate. She would fit right in.
    Can we divorce the Dems?

    • rbrooks

      your ex-wife is related to reagan. she is a good republican.

      • JimH

        You owe Reagan an apology.

        • rbrooks

          reagan was the master of the borrow and spend.

          • JimH

            No, the Ex (the credit card Kamikaze) makes him look like a rank amateur.
            There is the part of my comment about want and need.
            How much of what a Dem congress gave Reagan was a want and how much was need?
            Compared to the last 5 to 6 years, how much is want and what % is really what we need?

            You still owe Reagan an apology.

          • rbrooks

            reagan raised the debt ceiling 11 times. he raised taxes 7 times. he increased dod budgets. increased subsidies and foreign aid. he increased both the size and scope of govt.

            reagan owes all of us an apology.

            your ex owes you more than an apology.

            however, i have an ex i would be glad to give you.

          • JimH

            You avoided the real question.

          • rbrooks

            you ignored the obvious. all politicians are crooks.

          • JimH

            That is the obvious. :)

          • rbrooks

            but you only want to divorce, blame, the democrats.

          • JimH

            Ok, the Dems and the RINO’s. Thanks for the reminder. :)

          • rbrooks

            don’t complain when nothing changes.

            all politicians are crooks. even the ones you support.

          • JimH

            What do you suggest? Or don’t you want any changes?

          • rbrooks

            we are not going to make any changes until we change whom we elect. and that would require a change in how candidates are selected.

            even better would be propositions that were actually voted for by the people. but of course we have a increasing number of americans that are not allowed to vote.

            the best change would be to allow cruz, root, livingstone and group, to pass their agenda.

            once the country learned that harsh lesson, and if the country was still here, they might learn to vote for a better grade of politician.

          • JimH

            I would hope that if the people were to vote on the propositions, that they, unlike our current politicians, would actually read the bill. That would be a start.
            When a better grade of politician tries to run, the entrenched corrupt ones go on the attack and gang up on them. The smear campaign begins, because they can’t beat them in a honest debate.
            Some good ones come in and try to do what’s right. Balance a budget, spend more wisely, get the debt under control. The rest accuse them of being extreme and radical and then vilify them. But they can’t refute their ideas. Unfortunately they are out numbered. The media is in the pocket of the established group. It is hard for the good guy to get their ideas presented to the people.
            It is an up hill battle.
            Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee aren’t the enemy.
            Reid, Durban, Pelosi, McConnall, Boehner, and all the established ones working the status quo are the problem.
            What is the interest payment on $16 trillion? What do interest payments get you?
            Tax payers are paying huge amounts in interest and that money buys us NOTHING.
            You’re right. We need a better grade of human in charge.

          • independent thinker

            Apparently the b, u, s, and h are broken on rbrooks keyboard from overuse. So, he skips over clinton and now plays the blame Reagan game.

          • rbrooks

            while the morons simply blame the tax and spend democrats for the increasing debt.

            but just how much extra did clinton add to the national debt.

          • independent thinker

            Clinton increased the national debt by 1,419 billion $. Reagan increased the national debt 1,873 billion $. Considering Reagan had to rebuild the military after Carter that difference is insignificant.

          • rbrooks

            had to rebuild the military? you mean creating bin laden and supplying iran and iraq with weapons.

            it is amusing that the idiots always have an excuse for the gop when they run up the debt.

            and you can not figure out why nothing ever changes.

          • independent thinker

            It is even more amusing (or would be if it were not so pathetic) that you conveniently ignore the fact that Clinton increased the debt almost as much as Reagan.

          • rbrooks

            clinton increased the debt 300%?

            it is what the debt was used for, and which party used it, that irritates you. it is not the debt it’s self.

          • mark

            Reagan tripled the U.S. national debt in 8 years from $900 billion to $2.6 trillion. All the while talking endlessly about cutting the federal gov’t spending and never negotiating with terrorists. No, he just gave them advanced U.S. weapons as revealed after the Iran Contra scandal.

          • vicki

            Last I checked the House determines the budget and not the President. Well rather that is how it is supposed to work.

          • JimH

            In 2009 the debt was 10 trillion now it’s over 16 trillion.
            2.5 or 7 hmmmm.
            Of course for it to triple would mean 30 trillion, but we have 3 more years.(if he has his way it’s feasible)

  • Kevin Osborne

    So there is some tom-foolery going on with the current U.S. government? Why don’t you guys just drive them all out of office? What am I not understanding here?

    • vicki

      Voter fraud

  • Barbara Johnson

    Wow! There are still people who believe that there is a ceiling on the darned thing? There is no ceiling. It’s only a game that they are playing!

  • Deerinwater

    not sure what to think really. ~ While we clearly need to cut back on some spending. ~ But what?

    • noone

      For a couple of spending cuts….sex life of snails 380,000 spent. Why butterflies fly…160,000. Line dancing for IRS employees 60,000…there are more too numerous to mention.

      • Karl Dulaff

        It’s against the nature of politicians to cut spending. The best they’ll ever do is cut the rate of INCREASE of spending…..a little….and for a short time.

      • jaybird

        The National Park Service just made 3 videos about Muslim girls stating that they are not discriminated against by their religion. I think the states that can should take over their own parks. Do not give Mr. Jarvis any more money. When people called to ask about it, they would not answer, wanted you to e-mail the question. I was going to do it but the gov. shut down, I’ll have to find their address again.

  • rick0857

    With the so called ceiling having been raised 100 already I’d pretty much say we don’t need to worry about it anymore we have in fact been BANKRUPT for a very long, long time and the government won’t tell us because…well children shouldn’t hear such things, this is for the SMART people to figure out.
    Sarcasm is now off

  • Jerry Morris

    Under this plan, Obama could borrow/spend trillions on top of what the US government already owes between now and Feb, without restraint (The Democrat Senate won’t do anything about it).
    Future generations are being sold into slavery by the spineless idiot GOP in Congress.

    • Chuck Rogers II

      The GOP can’t stop them but they could darn sure slow it down but they lack the ability to grow a set and stand their ground

  • goyaathle

    This is no different than each time I run out of money I just max out another credit card, I would be sharing a cell with “Snipes” in no time. I do not think that this is what our fore fathers ment when they said “the land of the free”. Not the land of get everything for free.

  • bob

    Seriously no limit we’re done.

  • trugrits

    Is anyone surprised of the outcome of this same song and dance?
    They all need to be replaced by a good swift boot to their posterior.
    Nobody is this stupid so that only leaves that the outcome was intentional.

  • scott miller

    I am sure enough was handed out in pork to buy this deal to reopen government,

    The gop held out long enough to get better deals to line their pockets,

    Same old business different day in america.

    Two party system needs to go, public tax funding of campaigns and term limits needs to come sooner rather than later. And for good measure getting back on the gold standard and off this imaginary shadow economy house of cards we currently have.

    Or we can just all piss around until we get our IMF status pulled, and our whole government collapses overnight as it defaults on 17 trillion in debt.

    • vicatman

      don’t think the IMF would pull our status, the US contributes 17% to the fund. they aren’t going to give that up. It wouldn’t fit into their plan for a world currency, then it will be all over for the US,, we will be just another 3rd world country with massive debt, REAL unemployment probably 20% or more,, then we will see just what barry has had in store us. all the give away programs will be shutdown, rioting in the streets,, not a pretty future.

      • scott miller

        Then you are ignoring the efforts of russia, china, and members of the EU to oust the dollar.

        You are unaware of tony blare warning bush on multiple occasions about the united states inflating its currency and driving dollar value down.

        You are unaware that china has been stripping itself if its USDs by buying things up like a madman over the last several years.

        You are unaware of the, probably most in the lead plan, of using a new UN backed? currency that could be transferred into and out of any number of accepted currencies.

        It is not if it will happen it is when it will happen, when will we print ourselves into massive inflation and spend ourselves into more crushing debt spirling the value of our dollar ever further and stripping the EU, russia and china of any sticking points and moving forward.

        I would bet at the outset we have at the most 5 years before our economy is so trashed that they move.

        Ask britian if it can never happen if what they donate is too big to fail. They had their IMF status removed because they, destroyed their economy,

        We are a debter nation, with a congress and president that gives not one single solitary care about the future of this nation. Your children will bare the brunt of the hardships, your grandchildren will not have social security or medicare or obamacare, maybe even your children if my 5 years estimation comes to pass.

        And really we all made our beds lets lie in it. let the ruin come sooner let the pain come now, not on our kid and grandkids the people that made the mess should be made to wallow in it.

  • Larry Nopen

    What I like is they all screwed us over for 16 days, Now there going to take a break. Such a load of bull

    • Liz

      You stated it correctly , they ALL screwed us but if you notice they ALL don’t get blamed, ONLY the Republicans! Now O’Bama, Reid, rest of Democrats, and Rhinos can get on with the work of ignoring the Constitution and destroying our Country as we know it to make room for Socialism or Islam’s Sharia Law. Until the local media and written news organisations starts stating ALL of the facts and not just bias bull hockey the American people will never know the truth and this Administration is virtually unstoppable. I’m not sure if they refuse to tell all because of fear of reprisal from this Administration, ex: AP and threats from the IRS, or they are bought off.

      • Larry Nopen

        What you said is true, and we all know there bought and paid for. I would love to see both Rep. and Dems work for the people not the stinkin parties.

  • RonofAmerica

    Obama won, Republicans won… Americans lost

    Let me restate this so everyone is clear about what just happened. Yesterday, Congress gave up its Constitutional responsibility to represent us and opted to go back home to their jerrymandered districts and run for re-election.

    Democrats aren’t afraid because they run in Democratic districts and Republicans aren’t afraid because they run in Republican districts. It’s all controlled by moving district boundaries for maximum party density.

    Why are the Republicans feeling so good about yesterday’s agreement? Because they don’t have to take responsibility for the debt ceiling anymore.

    But, what the Republicans really agreed to yesterday was to take the power away from the Tea Party and the last few responsible Republicans left in Congress.

    Are you following me?

    You see, Republicans had the ability to control government with a 50/50 vote that they owned. They really owned it! But, they voted to shirk that responsibility in exchange for a 67/33 vote that they know the Tea Party can’t rally. The Tea Party just doesn’t have the numbers. And when Obama inevitably raises that ceiling all the Republicans can go home and tell their constituents that they voted against it, knowing full well that there was never any real chance of stopping it.

    In other words, they dumped the opportunity to control a nation through its purse strings. That’s the job Congress had Constitutionally.

    Congress no longer leads our nation. They just collect campaign funds from corporations and parasites and in return dish out contracts and welfare checks. It’s the middle class that gets thrown under the bus.

  • bygeorge

    Once again the Republican Party has come off looking like the buffoons they seem to be: disorganized, self-destructive, off message and throughly infiltrated by collaborating fellow travelers, McCain and Lindsey, (et. al.) who missed no opportunity to attack the real Republican’s trying to save America, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. I hope john Boehner doesn’t break his arm patting himself on the back congratulating himself on reaching an agreement on a law that will economically destroy America.

    Originally, the party stood for the people and the constitution, the end of slavery, and the free enterprise system, while the democrat party was, and still is, the party of the KKK, Jim Crow, and slavery of the citizens to the state. Those basic principles have never changed, only the people in the party have changed. The democrats message, shrouded by lies and deceit, have accomplished their mission, the social and economic submission of America’s once great economy to “fairness” and the common good.

    At the moment the current GOP leadership does not realized what horror is in store for them. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are the true heros of the hour, both standing up for America’s founding principles, at once giving the illusion of unity, while flying in the face of the likes of mcCain,, the lie. Yet the facts are there for all to see. In the House vote, all 198 democrats plus 87 Republicans sell-outs voted “yes” on the funding Obamacare issue, while 144 Republicans voted “NO” including Tom raves and Doug Collins. There is a conservative base there to build on. Most of those folks are TEA Party affiliates or were put there by TEA Party voters. They ran for the job espousing TEA party principles, which are American principles. Most stood strong and voted the way their constituents wanted. Of course, it goes without saying that both of Georgia’s Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, stood with Harry Reid in the Senate. They had their reasons I suppose, but I cannot see why? It looks like a sell out to me.

    A major change in party thinking is required if the GOP expects to ever become viable once again within the framework under which it was originally established, not a democrat clone. The party machine is rusted, (aged) the internal parts corroded (corrupted) and the image, like a watercolor painting in a soft rain, smeared, blurry and all but indecipherable. But the GOP problems started earlier when they allowed Obama to disregard the Constitution, engage in illegal activities that has resulted in the death of Americans (F&F and Benghazi), dispense taxpayer funds to disastrous ‘green’ projects and unions,

    sending out his SWAT minions, in various uniforms, to harass and intimidate farmers. builders, gold miners, loggers, home schoolers and manufacturers. The GOP did not challenge the despot then, what makes them think they can now? It’s the next generation that will do that. The current lot cannot stand unified together when old fools like McCain constantly throw sand in the machines gears.

    So, what to do? A report today says that John Boehner’s position as House Speaker is secure. That may be, but his position in his Ohio House district is under challenge. Clearly, change within the GOP is coming. Slowly the ranks will be filled with conservative thinkers, ex-military types, many of whom are TEA Party supporters, Oath Keepers or members of other patriotic organizations, now deemed terrorists by Obama and Homeland Security. Representative and former Lt. Col. Allen West is not forgotten, Dr. Ben Carlson is ready, Our own Herman Cain will be there too, I predict, ready to do his part.

    Our very Conservative 14th District House Rep., Tom Graves said: “We’ve been most successful when we stand, unified, behind what we believe philosophically and policy wise. I mean the House is strong in that regard, and we’ll continue to do that.” As much as I hate to quote a liberal on anything, former Atlanta Mayor, Andrew Young put his finger on a major problem when he said: “[W]e’ve got probably the dumbest Congress we’ve had in a long time. They don’t have passports. They haven’t been anywhere. When I was in Congress, almost everybody in Congress before me had been in the Second World War or in the Korean War. They knew the world. They knew America had to give leadership to the world. We either gave leadership to the world through vision and creative, nonviolent means like education, trade, or we ended up at war. … and therein lies is the answer to our political salvation, finding conservative candidates from among the thousands of qualified returning military veterans to challenge the collaborating GOP incumbents for their eventual replacement

    • Mike S.

      Perhaps Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are good conservative Republicans, but don’t forget the most constitutional represenative of them all, Dr. No, aka Dr. Ron Paul. The Republican leadership and powerful fought him all the way because he was not just preaching the truth, but practicing it also! We need many more to follow in the good doctor’s footsteps! We need to stay out of most foreign affairs and really shrink our worlwide military footprint. Maybe not eliminate it altogether, but certainly shrink it, along with all but some disaster foreign aid. We can still be a good neighbor to the world, but we should not be it’s policeman or bully or sugar daddy!
      To quote Dr. Paul, “Politicians don’t amount to much, ideas do!”
      Mike S.

  • vicki

    Why does this remind me of the short time the EBT cards had no spending limit?

  • Disgusted

    It has been bothering me that there was no limit on the presidents spending. It did not occur to me that the House could have just put a phrase in their version that the total ceiling was not allowed to go over X number of dollars by Jan or Feb or whatever date that was. The Senate could then have (publicly) argued how much debt increase they thought reasonable by the next deadline, before reopening the govt. Then the fight early next year could have been on whether to allow any more debt increases at all in the future, assuming by that time Obama had demonstrated his desire and ability to comply. It is likely the case for impeachment would be stronger, at that time.

    I somehow think this article should have appeared a few weeks ago.