Saturday, January 19, 2013

Round Two, Or Is It Three?

(Editorial cartoon by Mike Luckovich and published 1/16/13 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Click on image to enlarge.)

Here we go again.

 Faced with some unanticipated recalcitrance from the White House, the GOP, after meeting at a private retreat, has decided that it needs to change its rhetoric with respect to the latest fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling

House Republicans announced Friday that they will vote next week to authorize a temporary extension of the debt limit, pushing off a politically unpalatable fight in the hopes of extracting further spending cuts from Democrats in a new budget deal.

The new offer, announced at the conclusion of a three-day retreat, represents a modification of the Republican leadership’s previous demand that any debt limit increase, temporary or otherwise, must include equivalent spending reductions. The temporary increase this time comes with the stipulation that it will “give the Senate and House time to pass a budget,” something the GOP notes that the Democratic-led Senate has failed to do so for years.

A leadership aide argued that it is consistent with the so-called “Boehner Rule,” which requires spending cuts or reforms in return for a debt-limit extension. Also, if Congress fails to pass a budget in time, the terms of the House offer would then call for lawmakers to stop receiving pay, just as the nation would then again face the threat of a default. Republicans say that the budget would only include an extended debt-ceiling increase if Democrats agree to significant spending cuts. [Emphasis added]

Sound familiar?  It should.  This is the same deal the Republicans have offered the last two times around, and have gotten away with (I might add).  The result is yet another manufactured crisis.  Obviously the Republicans are hopeful that the American public will come away from this announcement believing that the House Republicans are trying to be reasonable, trying to enter into good faith negotiations.  Apparently the GOP still believes that image is everything.

The initial response from Democratic leadership in the Senate and from the White House seems to be a little stronger than it was the last couple of times around.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) welcomed the move.

"It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “If the House can pass a clean debt ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it.”

The White House signaled that it was "encouraged" to hear the news from House leadership.

"We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on," its statement said.[Emphasis added]

This looks to me as if the Democrats aren't willing to kick the can, which I think is a welcome change.  I hope that position holds up and that White House continues to demand that the debt ceiling increase be passed without any strings attached, now and in the future.  The President has a radio address this morning.  He should use that to hammer home this message.  And congressional Democrats should use every opportunity (including the Sunday bobblehead appearances) to do likewise.  It's time to end the GOP extortion

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Blogger Florence said...

Amen! it is indeed time time stop the GOP extortion!

3:58 PM  

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