Kicking the can down the road, again

Republican lawmakers agreed this week to kick the gigantic debt ceiling can a little further down the road.

The House passed legislation Wednesday permitting the U.S. Treasury to exceed the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling through May 18. The Senate was expected to approve the measure Friday, and President Obama had already signaled that he would quickly sign the legislation when it reached his desk.

The agreement allows the government to avoid the threat of a government default, at least for now. The same arguments will be made by Republicans and Democrats in the weeks leading up the the new May 18 deadline.

Republicans have already made it known they will create a budget that would eliminate the deficit in 10 years, challenging Democrats to follow suit. Democrats hailed the legislation as a “fundamental change” in GOP strategy. Republicans called the bill “no budget, no pay,” because they are calling for the Senate to draft a budget for the first time in four years, and that members should not be paid if their respective house does not pass a budget.

We avoided the fiscal cliff, and now we’ve avoided the debt ceiling fight, but not for long. At some point, reasonable voices from both parties must cobble together a package that includes spending cuts or the can will eventually grow too large to be kicked down the road again and again.