5 Ways the Debt Crisis Changed Washington

By Major Garrett, National Journal - August 3, 2011

The debt crisis left in its circus-like wake five permanent truths.

1. A new precedent. Debt-ceiling increases are now tied to deficit reduction. With President Obama's signature, every future president until America's debt monster is tamed must come to Congress on bended knee and plead for the privilege of avoiding default. What had been an unhappy obligation of governance is now a lever to impose either spending cuts or tax increases in the pursuit of deficit reduction. A senior House Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee did not dispute this point. "We are bearing the burden of having to pass our own president's legislation." One side note: This episode also proves that the 14th Amendment's linkage to debt discussions is dead. Numerous House Democrats said off the floor on Monday that if there was ever a time to invoke the amendment and raise the debt ceiling, it was now. "I still hold out hope," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). "It's very important." Lee conceded, though, that her hopes are probably dashed and the issue is settled.

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