Press Sec. Jay Carney repeated the White House’s position today that the president will only sign clean bills. Carney said, We will not pay ransom to the tea party Republicans to allow Congress to do its job’
When asked if President Obama would sign a short term raise of the debt ceiling, Press Secretary Jay Carney again stated that the president will only sign clean bills.
Carney said that it is encouraging that House Republicans are backing off of the default threat.
He added, “We’ll see what the House Republicans propose. We’ll see what they’re able to pass and consider it then. The president said the other day in hypothetical he would be willing to do this because he thinks we need to avoid default, but he’s been very clear. He will not pay a ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their jobs. Pay ransom in exchange to the tea party Republicans to allow Congress to do its job which is to fund government and make sure that we do not default.”
The problem is that what Boehner is proposing is not a clean bill. According to the Wall Street Journal, the GOP proposal would, “permanently ban the Treasury Department from using extraordinary measures to avoid default, congressional aides said. The provision would ban practices, used by Democratic and Republican administrations for decades, which have effectively allowed the Treasury to limit investments in pensions and other funds when the government bumps up against its borrowing limit. These steps have extended the time that Treasury can continue borrowing and paying the nation’s bills while Congress debates terms for raising the debt ceiling.”
The fact that Boehner’s proposal isn’t clean, and would further handcuff Democrats, means that it is unlikely to pass the Senate as is. If Republicans add this provision to the debt ceiling extension, we could see a replay of the government shutdown follies, where the House adds language and the Senate strips it out over and over again.
The optimism that this is the first step towards a deal in both the media and on Wall Street looks unfounded. If Republicans insist on raising the debt limit now so that they can take a bigger hostage later, it will get a big thumbs down from Democrats.
As Jay Carney repeated again today, President Obama won’t be signing anything that isn’t clean. What John Boehner is offering is a clean bill with a legislative dirty bomb inside. If Boehner doesn’t offer a clean debt ceiling hike, it is likely that this goes nowhere.