President Obama used his weekly address to explain the stakes in the upcoming debt ceiling showdown. He warned the country and Republicans, “(O)ne thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic.”
Obama warned Republicans that we can’t afford to allow them to hold raising the debt ceiling hostage, “We still need to do more to put Americans back to work while also putting this country on a path to pay down its debt. And our economy can’t afford more protracted showdowns or manufactured crises along the way. Because even as our businesses created 2 million new jobs last year – including 168,000 new jobs last month – the messy brinksmanship in Congress made business owners more uncertain and consumers less confident.”
The President pointed out that he is addressing the deficit, “We know there’s a path forward. Last year, I signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. This week’s action further reduces the deficit by $737 billion, making it one of the largest deficit reduction bills passed by Congress in over a decade. And I’m willing to do more.”
Obama isn’t done reforming the tax code either. He said, “(S)pending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code. The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”
The President reminded Americans of the cost we paid last time Republicans used the debt ceiling as a hostage, “(O)ne thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again.”
In other words, fresh off of his victory in raising some revenue to pay off our debt via raising taxes on the wealthiest in the country, Obama is saying he’s not done yet. Loopholes and deductions are next up. If Republicans try to hold the nation’s economy hostage in order to impose their ideology, they will have a steep political price to pay, but then, we will all pay if Republicans refuse to govern like adults.
Speaker John Boehner has promised Republicans he’s going to ask for a dollar in spending cuts (read: cuts to social programs) for every dollar the debt ceiling is raised. The problem for the Speaker is that it looks like the Senate won’t be playing ball with the House this time around.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took paying the nation’s bills off of the table on Friday, telling Talking Points Memo in a press conference, “I think that risking government shutdown, risking not raising the debt ceiling, is playing with fire. Anyone who wants to come and negotiate, and say ‘we will raise the debt ceiling only if you do A, B, C’ will not have a negotiating partner. And if then they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling, it’ll be on their shoulders. I would bet that they would not go forward with that.”
Senate Republicans have vowed to use the debt ceiling as a negotiating tool again, but if they can’t get some Democrats in the Senate to go along, Republicans will be forced to admit they’re all bluster. Speaking of bluster, while leaving Sandy victims hanging and letting the Violence Against Women Act expire, House Republicans did manage to bring ObamaCare up for its 34 show vote even though they know their repeated attempts to repeal ObamaCare are meaningless and costly.