Surprise! Debt-ceiling deal gives Obama a blank check: Loophole will allow government to spend WITHOUT LIMIT until February

  • Congressional deal set a time limit for a  debt-ceiling extension, but didn’t cap it with a fixed dollar  amount
  • Obama’s three autumn demands – a new  budget, a farm bill and comprehensive immigration reform – could take the U.S.  into uncharted debt territory while Treasury stops enforcing a  limit
  • Democrats’ immigration demands,  previously parried with complaints about the cost of new border fences, could  suddenly seem easy to grant
  • Food stamp recipients, paid through the  farm bill, have doubled under Obama and that growth shows no sign of  stopping  
  • U.S. national debt stands to add a  minimum of $300 billion between now and Feb. 7, when the eleventh-hour deal  negotiated Wednesday expires

By  David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 18:01 EST, 17  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:08 EST, 17 October 2013

It’s the ultimate sweetheart deal for a  free-spending federal government: Wednesday night’s debt deal didn’t actually  raise the limit on America’s credit card, but instead removed it entirely until  February 7, 2014.

Whether through legislative sleight-of-hand  or something less sinister, the law of the land now permits the U.S. to run up  new debts for 16 weeks without consequences, and forbids the Treasury Department  from enforcing the debt limit that ordinarily keeps spending from spiraling out  of control.

Some observers noted on Wednesday that when  Congress burned the midnight oil to debate a deal that would save the U.S. from  crashing through its existing $16.7 trillion debt ceiling and risking a credit  default, there was no debate over exactly how far to raise it.

House and Senate negotiators only discussed  how long the agreement would last.

Look familiar? Shoppers on food stamps cleaned out a Louisiana Wal-Mart after a computer glitch removed spending limits on their EBT cards for a few hours on Saturday. Congress now holds the license for a similar spending spree 

Look familiar? Shoppers on food stamps cleaned out a  Louisiana Wal-Mart after a computer glitch removed spending limits on their EBT  cards for a few hours on Saturday. Congress now holds the license for a similar  spending spree

Pushing the limit: The National Debt Clock already registered $16.9 trillion on Tuesday, with no end in sight 

Pushing the limit: The National Debt Clock already  registered $16.9 trillion on Tuesday, with no end in sight

 

 

 

The result has left the Treasury free to accumulate as much debt  as it needs to until the deal expires, The Daily Caller noted on Thursday.

The Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that  if the government had extended its debt ceiling in this fashion through the end  of 2014, as one Republican proposal suggested, the federal government’s debt  would have ballooned by $1.1 trillion.

At that rate, the national debt will likely  grow by at least $282.5 billion on its own by the time Feb. 7 rolls around,  bringing the total close to an even $17 trillion.

 

But there’s no guarantee it won’t grow even  faster, especially if the legislative initiatives President Obama outlined  Thursday morning were to cross the finish line by year’s end, as he demanded in  his first public remarks since signing the debt-limit hike law shortly after  midnight.

Obama said he wants Congress to give him a  new budget deal, a 5-year farm bill and a comprehensive reform of America’s  immigration laws, all before New Year’s Day.

Any one of those three could be a colossal  budget-buster. Under ordinary circumstances, a hard-and-fast debt limit might  serve as a check against runaway spending; but with no ceiling, Democrats could  raid the Treasury to give the president what he wants, without fear of practical  roadblocks getting in the way.

President Obama outlined his fall agenda on Thursday, demanding a new budget, a comprehensive immigration reform law and farm legislation, any of which could break the bank now that there's no limit on the nation's credit card 

President Obama outlined his fall agenda on Thursday,  demanding a new budget, a comprehensive immigration reform law and farm  legislation, any of which could break the bank now that there’s no limit on the  nation’s credit card

 

Republicans, too, could take advantage of the  spending loophole. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demonstrated on  Wednesday that he’s willing to accept expensive pot-sweeteners in exchange for a  tidy solution to a messy problem.

When Obama signed the debt-bailout package  into law, it included more than $2 billion in new spending for a dam project in  McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, answering for some the thorny question of  why the Senate’s top Republican would be so eager to make Democrats look good by  negotiating a deal when tea party conservatives in the House were refusing to do  so.

According to the conservative Heritage Foundation,  Obama and Congress have already used the trick of ‘suspending’ the debt ceiling  for a fixed period of time once before – running from February to May of this  year.

That deal added $300 billion to the national  debt in 102 days. The deal that went into effect Thursday covers 114 days.

The only requirement for that earlier  agreement was that the Democrat-led Senate produce a formal budget for the first  time since President Obama took office, which it did.

‘No savings were accomplished,’ says  Heritage.

‘Suspending the debt is less transparent to  the American people,’ the group explains, adding that ‘a calendar date is not  nearly as scary to constituents as a figure in the trillions of  dollars.’

Conservatives have demanded leak-proof border security as a condition to discussing amnesty for 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, an expensive proposition that could suddenly seem affordable 

Conservatives have demanded leak-proof border security  as a condition to discussing amnesty for 11 million immigrants living in the  U.S. illegally, an expensive proposition that could suddenly seem affordable

Thousands of miles of new border fences, plus the manpower to guard them, would add tens of billions -- or more -- to the debt total while there's no spending ceiling overhead 

Thousands of miles of new border fences, plus the  manpower to guard them, would add tens of billions — or more — to the debt  total while there’s no spending ceiling overhead

 

 

The coming battles over a year-long federal  budget, including Democrats’ demands for new taxes and an expected Republican  push for spending cuts, could actually reduce deficit spending; but with no  credit limit holding them back, lawmakers could see a perfect storm for  committing to hundreds of billions in new earmarked projects calculated to  please constituents back home.

The farm bill, too, is likely to rack up  record spending on programs like food stamps, which fall under the Department of  Agriculture’s budget: The Obama administration has already doubled the number of  Americans receiving these entitlements since January 2009.

But immigration could require the biggest  blank check of all.

While Obama and congressional liberals want  to put 11 million illegal aliens on a path to citizenship, conservatives have  consistently argued that the nation’s borders must first be secured. That,  Democrats have countered, is simply too expensive to contemplate since it would  likely involve building thousands of miles of new high-tech fences and staffing  the Mexican border with thousands of guards whose salaries no one has  contemplated yet.

Capitol Hill sources tell MailOnline that  without a fixed debt ceiling over their heads, everyone in Congress might  suddenly find it workable to give both parties what they want.

Food stamp recipients receive benefits from states, but the federal government pays the bills under the authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an agency whose five-year spending plan is due for a budget-busting renewal 

Food stamp recipients receive benefits from states, but  the federal government pays the bills under the authority of the U.S. Department  of Agriculture, an agency whose five-year spending plan is due for a  budget-busting renewal

 

‘I can’t speak for the whole Republican  caucus, of course,’ said a policy staffer to a conservative GOP House member,  ‘but some of us want a border fence badly enough that we’ll look the other way  if it adds a few hundred billion to the national debt.’

‘And once that’s in place, the biggest  impediment to a citizenship path disappears.’

Since President Obama took office, new  deficit spending has added about $43,000 to the national debt for every  household in America.

That reflects a 60 per cent increase in the  debt from where it sat on his first Inauguration Day, at $10.3  trillion.

At current rates of growth, Obama will leave  office with national debts twice the size of those accumulated by all the  previous U.S. presidents combined.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2465544/Surprise-Debt-ceiling-deal-gives-Obama-blank-check-loophole-allow-government-spend-WITHOUT-LIMIT-February.html#ixzz2i2RrFh7Y Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook



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