Republicans are mistaken if they think they can again play games with the debt ceiling
Too many Republican lawmakers apparently don’t see the firm resolve President Obama is prepared to display on the issue of the federal debt ceiling.
Ezra Klein EXPLAINS:
Republicans have convinced themselves that they’ll have the upper hand if they let the country topple fully or mostly over the cliff and then restart negotiations with a debt default looming in the background. They figure that although Obama really is willing to let the country go over the cliff, he’s not willing to let the country default and spark a global financial crisis. They are willing to do that, or they believe they can more credibly say they are, and that gives them leverage.
This increasingly influential theory is weakening [House Speaker John] Boehner’s hand, as it’s giving House Republicans who don’t want to cut a deal a way to argue that they just need to stand firm now and they’ll get a better deal later.
Whatever House Republicans might think, the White House is all steel when it comes to the debt ceiling…The Obama administration is utterly steadfast on this point: They will not suffer a repeat of 2011, when they conducted negotiations over whether the United States should default. If Republicans go over the cliff and try to open up talks for raising the debt ceiling, the White House will not hold a meeting, they will not return a phone call, they will not look at the e-mails. They will move to an entirely public strategy, rallying voters and the business community against the GOP’s repeated brinksmanship…
They’re almost religious about this: They believe they owe it to future generations to break the back of the idea that minority parties can and should play Russian roulette with the economy…
They want the bomb defused, not delayed. And so they’re insisting on a long-term fix in any deal, proposing to, in effect, take responsibility for raising the debt ceiling away from Congress and hand it over to the president. Their proposal is clear: It functionally eliminates the debt ceiling forever. The White House does not believe that lifting the debt ceiling for a year, or even two years, is a reasonable compromise against “forever.”