Tales from the Trail

Down to the wire…

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan expects his fellow Republicans to wait until the “last minute” to strike a deal that averts national default by raising the $14.3 trillion limit on the U.S. debt.

Failure to reach a deal could trigger a new global financial crisis, according to analysts and Democrats including President Barack Obama. But on Monday, the day the U.S. debt reached its current statutory limit, Ryan told an Illinois AM radio station that “we’re going to negotiate this thing probably up through July, that’s how these things go.”

“That’s how these things go” could place negotiations at the very doorstep of an Aug. 2 deadline, which is when the Treasury Department believes it will exhaust its bag of tricks for staving off a financial apocalypse.

Ryan’s comments came a day after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell advised CNN’s viewers to see the approaching default deadline as a source of opportunity.

Meanwhile, inflation worries buttressed by still-way-high gas prices are driving U.S. states to consider making silver and gold coins legal tender.  South Carolina is the latest to consider legislation to that effect, joining over two-dozen others in a trend that began this month in Utah.

Who’s not for funding U.S. troops?

Usually congressional debates over funding U.S. troops are fights where lawmakers try to best each other praising them and throwing as much money as possible at them for fear of appearing less patriotic than someone else.

But Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives are girding for an all-out brawl over a roughly $95 billion bill to fund the troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq — but not because of that money but rather because of provisions to shore up the International Monetary Fund.

While most in Washington know what the IMF is, many Americans do not. It provides loans to governments around the world trying to weather financial crises and get their economies back on track.