Short-term debt deal won’t mask big barriers ahead

by
October 16, 2013

Budget Battle Future Challenges
Even if Congress reaches a last-minute or deadline-busting deal to avert a federal default and fully reopen the government, elected officials are likely to return to their grinding brand of brinkmanship – perhaps repeatedly.

House-Senate talks are barely touching the underlying causes of debt-and-spending stalemates that pushed the country close to economic crises in 2011, last December and again this month.

Late Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House dropped efforts to craft a bill to raise the debt limit and fully open the government. House members will wait for the Democratic-controlled Senate to act, which could push a final resolution past Thursday. That’s when administration officials say federal borrowing powers will be tapped out.

Still, many in Congress expect a resolution, even if it’s a few days late. At best, however, lawmakers and the White House will agree to fund the government and raise the debt limit for only a few months. They also will call for yet another bipartisan effort to address the federal debt’s major causes, including restricted revenue growth and entitlement benefits that rise automatically.

And yet, top advocates say they’ve seen virtually no change in the political dynamics that stymied past efforts for a compromise to end the cycle of brinksmanship and threats to harm the economy.

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