GOP scoffs at Obama's "no-negotiation" vow on debt
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Jan 7, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama, meet Congressman Michael Burgess.
The president says he absolutely will not let Republicans threaten a national debt ceiling crisis as a way to extract deeper federal spending cuts.
"It's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard," the Texas Republican says. "He's going to have to negotiate."
Both sides may be bluffing, of course. They may reach an agreement before the debt-limit matter becomes a crisis in March, or possibly late February.
But the tough talk suggests this year's political fight could be even nastier and more nerve-grating than the recent "fiscal cliff" showdown, or the July 2011 brinkmanship that triggered the first-ever ratings downgrade of the nation's credit-worthiness.
Asked about the White House's apparent assumption that Republicans will back down, Burgess said: "I'm not going to foreclose on anything, but that's just not going to happen."
He is hardly alone.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., repeatedly declined to say he would rule out a government shutdown, prompted by a debt-ceiling impasse, in the effort to force Obama to swallow large spending cuts. "It's a shame that we have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress" to force the White House to negotiate, he said.
In fact, congressional Republicans of all stripes say Obama has no choice but to accept spending cuts they want in exchange for a hike in the debt ceiling, which will reach its limit in about two months. Said McConnell: "We simply cannot increase the nation's borrowing limit without committing to long-overdue reforms to spending programs that are the very cause of our debt."
Obama says he's willing to discuss spending cuts in some programs. But that discussion, he says, must not be tied to GOP threats to keep the government from borrowing the money it needs to keep paying its bills, including interest on foreign-held debt.
"I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they have already racked up through the laws that they passed," the president said last week. "If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic."
In the end, Republicans settled for about $1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. The government barely avoided having to stop paying some bills. Financial markets were rattled, however, and Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit-worthiness rating.
Obama says he will take a dramatically different approach this time. He will discuss possible spending cuts as part of a broad deficit-reduction package. But he will end the conversation, he says, if Republicans threaten to withhold cooperation on the debt limit unless he meets their cost-cutting demands.
If the president thinks Republicans won't demand spending cuts as part of a debt-ceiling deal, "then he hasn't talked to a lot of members in our conference," said Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa. Asked if it would be dangerous for the United States to default on its financial obligations, Gerlach replied: "We're in a dangerous situation now. We're $16 trillion in debt and climbing."
A recent CBS News poll, which summarized the arguments for and against raising the debt limit, found 25 percent of Americans in favor of lifting the ceiling. Sixty-eight percent opposed.
White House officials say public opinion will shift as people learn more about the issue.
"It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote in a Houston Chronicle opinion article on the debt ceiling issue.
Such remarks, Democrats say, are the fantasies of "default deniers."
#2 Jan 7, 2013
Let's hope the Republicans have a spine this time.
#3 Jan 7, 2013
Disaster Payments in 26th District of Texas (Rep. Michael C. Burgess) totaled $6.4 million from 1995-2011.
Funny, he was for spending, before he was against it....
Saint Paul, MN
#4 Jan 8, 2013
Unlikely, but I hope they get more in the negotiation than they got on the fiscal cliff deal.
#5 Jan 8, 2013
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Since: Oct 08
#6 Jan 8, 2013
What needs to happen is the House Majority needs to start passing bills and sending them to the Senate for approval. Spending reduction bills that will either force Reid to block, or bring to the floor for a vote. Either way it puts the Dems on record as the party looking out for themselves versus the American people. No more meetings with Obama, because he is not a man of his word and reneges on just about every thing he says. Straight up, the old fashion way, and see what happens! Obama won't like this because it will expose his lack of leadership within the Democratic Party and lead to failure. Pelosi and Reid will eat him alive.
Saint Paul, MN
#7 Jan 8, 2013
That Harry Reid is a real "slewsie".
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