Re: COLA Wars

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Quin writes, “Frankly, it should have been easy to put a single additional issue on the [debt-ceiling] bill, such as blocking the insurance-company bailout in Obamacare, or blocking the medical-device tax, or something conservative.”

Easy to say, for sure. But keep in mind that if House Democrats oppose their bill with “something conservative” in it — and they have every incentive to do so — the House Republicans have to hold almost all of their members to prevail. If they lose 7 percent of the conference, they lose the vote. And more than 7 percent of the House Republicans want to vote against raising the debt limit, even in return for “something conservative.” So it’s pretty hard to assemble a majority for a bill that combines a debt-limit increase with some conservative policy.