House Republicans are drafting a Debt Ceiling playbook. They are calling it a menu of mandatory spending cuts to offer President Obama in exchange for raising the debt limit. The menu is a list of deeper cuts for President Obama to consider. If he goes small on cuts House Republicans will give him a short extension. But, for example, if he privatizes Social Security, House Republicans will likely raise it for the rest of his term.
President Obama said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. He warned Congress not to threaten the credit worthiness of the U.S. by holding the debt ceiling hostage. Not raising the Debt Ceiling was basically unheard of until President Obama took office. House Republicans fear the President will wait until the last minute and make a BIPARTISAN deal with the Senate. This will force the House to take a deal they don’t want or rightly be blamed for defaulting on the country’s obligations and causing a downgrade if the U.S. credit worthiness.
House Republicans are trying to sell this as a compromise. But their menu reads almost as a carbon copy of the Ryan Budget, which President Obama disagrees with. Democrats disagree with the Ryan Budget because of spending cuts, as well as large tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. They are not offering a compromise, they are issuing an ultimatum. They are setting their partybup for certain failure in the 2014 elections.
While the House is responsible for raising the Debt Ceiling, President Obama does not have to agree to anything. He will never have to run for reelection again. If he says no, Democrats can use it against Republicans in 2014 and like I said it will work against Republicans to go down this road.
John Boehner and Paul Ryan are playing a game of political chess. They believe they will avoid political fallout from another Debt Ceiling debacle if they pretend to give President Obama and the Democrats a choice. The option is which programs that help people to kill. House Republicans will probably cave at the last possible second, causing more of a problem than necessary. The last time President Obama tried to compromise with Republicans, they spit in his face. His strategy of waiting out House Republicans seems to be working. Why would he change it now?