Editor’s Note: CNN invited prominent former leaders and policymakers to offer their advice on the debt crisis standoff in Washington. Here is part of Brookings guest scholar and former House Member Bill Frenzel’s contribution.
After several weeks of increasing pessimism over the real possibility of a federal default, it appeared for a time yesterday that there were grounds for optimism as the House seemed poised to vote on John Boehner’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling. Any solution that avoided its expiration has become the best choice, and that seemed possible.
Alas, the vote was delayed as Boehner worked to round up conservatives, but his bill may yet squeak through the House soon. The Reid bill, its Senate counterpart, seems likely to do the same in the Senate. And if this comes to pass, because the bills appear to be similar, but not nearly identical, a House/Senate conference committee should be able to reconcile the two pieces of legislation swiftly.
Sentiment inside the Beltway has turned sharply against China. There are many issues where the two parties sound more or less the same. Trump and others in the administration seem heavily invested in a ‘get very tough with China’ stance. It’s possible that some Democrats might argue that a decoupling strategy borders on lunacy. But if Trump believes this will play well with his core constituencies as his reelection campaign moves into high gear, he will probably decide to stick with it, if the costs and the collateral damage seem manageable. But that’s a very big if, especially if the downsides of a protracted trade war for both American consumers and for American firms become increasingly apparent.