Congress Grasps at Straws in Default Debate; Astonishing New Trump Polls
Author: Greg Valliere
May 3, 2023
THERE ARE VAGUE PLANS to bring a “discharge petition” to the floor of the House, allowing a vote on a clean debt ceiling hike, with Democrats citing the 14th amendment to the Constitution to waive the debt ceiling and keep government open. Good luck with that.
WITH A TINY MAJORITY, Kevin McCarthy can’t afford to lose more than four or five House Republicans on a discharge petition, but we think he would have the votes to defeat this gambit. As for a Constitutional challenge, legal scholars are divided on whether the debt ceiling is legal — but with the Supreme Court controlled by conservatives, a Constitutional challenge probably would fail.
JOE BIDEN AND JANET YELLEN have refused to consider these gimmicks (which include the minting of a $1 trillion coin, which theoretically could fund the government). Their most likely tactic in the next few days may be a fierce argument that Social Security benefits could be jeopardized by a debt default, which would scare seniors and inflict a toll on Republicans.
A FINAL DEAL IS NOT LIKELY on May 9, when key leaders of both parties meet with President Biden. There may be a consensus on slowing spending increases, but an agreement on details is not imminent, which will increase the likelihood of kicking the can down the road. As for a Constitutional challenge, it will muddy the waters and further polarize the Supreme Court, and it’s not the answer to this crisis.
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ASTONISHING NEW TRUMP POLLS: Establishment Republicans in Washington are horrified by new polls. A survey released yesterday showed Donald Trump ahead in a nationwide survey of Republicans, with a 58% to 22% lead over Ron DeSantis, and no other Republican topping 5%. In key states, the results are similar — Trump leads in DeSantis North Carolina by 55% to 22%.
THE INCREASING LIKELIHOOD that Trump will win the Republican nomination has generated deep anxiety among party veterans, especially in the Senate. They worry about a general election blowout, with Trump losing his re-election bid while dragging down House and Senate candidates.
THE SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVE CANDIDATES has been futile, although we think DeSantis could become a more formidable candidate by summer. If Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Asa Hutchison, etc. don’t catch fire, Trump will remain the frontrunner. We think Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin could be a serious candidate, but he seemingly is in one week and out the next.
THE PROSPECT OF TRUMP WINNING THE NOMINATION virtually unopposed will provoke the media to find someone who could give them a horse race to cover. It’s possible there may a surge for activist Vivek Ramaswamy or feisty New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, but it’s unlikely that either could mount a serious challenge. Trump is the likely nominee.
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