Brinksmanship over the debt ceiling could make the fiscal cliff standoff look like child's play.
Right after the House passed the fiscal cliff compromise, President Obama said, "I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed."
But Republicans continue to insist that any increase in the debt ceiling must be exceeded by spending cuts and entitlement reforms...
Obama and McConnell agree on one thing: They both say they have no interest in resolving the debt ceiling debate at the very last minute the way they did in 2011, the last time they went through the exercise.
That debate was so bruising that the United States was downgraded after the fact by Standard & Poor's.
The government's borrowing rates remained very low throughout. But the Government Accountability Office nevertheless estimates that they were higher during the standoff than they would have been otherwise. The result: An additional $19 billion in interest payments will be owed over the next decade, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.