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Quick Quote: Public Policy Dean Don Kettl on Debt Limit Extension

January 23, 2013

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm 301-405-4390

Don Kettl, dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland:

Don Kettl"This reschedules as least one of the pending budget crises, but it also forces action on the budget, for the first time in years. The process doesn't guarantee results, but no results are possible without a process that gets a budget passed. Members of Congress won't  want to face the prospect of losing their pay, and that creates extra incentives for nudging the budget process along.

"The Republican House has passed this to turn up the heat on Democrats in the Senate, daring them not only to complete the budget process on time but also to identify—first—specific cuts to meet aggressive budget targets. It's a master stroke to put the Republicans out front on the issue of highest public visibility, and leaves to Democrats the dirty work of identifying just what programs they'd agree to cut.  In less than a month, the House Republicans have moved from a very clumsy fumble of the sequestration debate to an extremely clever effort to regain the high ground. The strategy resets the calendar, in part, and heightens the focus on which programs will survive—and which will suffer cuts."