President Biden reached a budget deal in principle this evening with House Republicans. The details haven’t all been hammered out, but the general framework reveals that Biden has gotten the majority of what he wanted. This means there won’t be a default. But then again, there was never going to be a default.
Why didn’t Biden just invoke the 14th Amendment? Because it’s not a magic wand that can just unilaterally be waved. Any attempted invocation of the 14th Amendment would have triggered a lengthy court battle which would have dragged the whole thing out even longer. The 14th Amendment was only an undesirable last resort if House Republicans never did cave. But since they were always going to cave, the 14th Amendment was never going to be a part of this.
Why didn’t insurrectionist House Republicans hold out for a default? Because it wasn’t up to them. Too many House Republicans are in toss up districts and would lose their seats over a default. There were never going to be 218 House Republicans willing to let a default happen.
But Kevin McCarthy could still have just refused to hold a vote. Why is he allowing this deal to happen? Because the House Republicans who wanted a deal would never have allowed him to not hold a vote. They could have ousted him if they wanted to. And that meant he had to give in to them.
Honestly, this stuff isn’t difficult to predict. Based on their 2024 reelection prospects, there weren’t going to be 218 House Republicans who would allow a default, so it wasn’t going to happen. That gave Biden most of the leverage, so he was going to get most of what he wanted. The end.
In order to accurately predict how this standoff would play out, all you really had to do was to tune out the hyperbolic nonsense coming from the media and the pundit class. There wasn’t going to be a default, no matter how many times MSNBC chased ratings by disingenuously suggesting there would be. The 14th Amendment wasn’t some magic wand, no matter how many Twitter pundits chased retweets by falsely portraying it that way.
Really, all you have to do is tune out that kind of nonsense, and politics becomes pretty simple. There’s a reason my predictions on this kind of thing nearly always end up being correct, and it’s not because I’m some genius. It’s simply that I’m immune to the false narratives that dominate MSNBC and social media. I don’t give those false narratives any weight just because they’re repeated over and over again. Understanding politics, and predicting outcomes, is mostly a function of knowing what empty noise to ignore.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report