Bad news for Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and the Republican leaders – President Obama won’t be falling for their debt ceiling threat this time around, just like he didn’t fall for it last time around.
Treasure Secretary Jack Lew was on CNBC Tuesday where he reiterated that not only will the President not negotiate over raising the debt limit, but, we do not need another self-inflicted wound (courtesy of the GOP). “I will reiterate. The President made clear he is not negotiating. Since ’70 to ’89, every congress has acted to pay the bills of the United States. This Congress needs to do the same. What we need in our economy is certainty. We don’t need another self-inflicted wound.”
CNBC’s John Harwood talked to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday, August 27th:
Transcript via CNBC with slight modifications:
LEW: John, the president has been very clear. We are not going to be negotiating over the debt limit.
HARWOOD: Both of those are total non-starters?
LEW: Congress has already authorized funding, committed us to make expenditures. We are now in the place where the only question is, will we pay the bills the united states has incurred? it is just the only way to do that is for Congress to act. For it to act quickly. What we need in our economy is certainty. We don’t need another self inflicted wound. We don’t need another crisis at the last minute. congress should come book and act.
HARWOOD: Is a clean debt limit with nothing attached to it the only kind the President will accept?
LEW: I will reiterate. The president made clear he is not negotiating. Since ’70 to ’89, every congress has acted to pay the bills of the United States. This Congress needs to do the same.
Lew’s tone is correct; he is talking to children and he needs to scold, shame and threaten them into doing their jobs.
Just yesterday the Speaker was threatening a “whale of a fight” over raising the debt ceiling. With consumer confidence heading toward a five year high, Boehner threatened to crash the economy if Republicans don’t get to rule as if they won 2012.
The Republican leader told a Boise lunch crowd, “But I’ll say this: It may be unfair but what I’m trying to do here is to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices. We’re going to have a whale of a fight.”
Tough talk from the King of Caving.
In February, Boehner admitted to PBS Newshour that using the debt ceiling as a toy jeopardized the credit of the U.S. Government, “We got the debt limit out of the way so that we weren’t jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States government.”
So, the Republican leader knows what he’s doing and he’s going there anyway because Boehner really has no choice. He’s desperately trying to give the Tea caucus something to keep them from destroying the Republican party for the next decade with a government shutdown.
Obama told the GOP children “No” to using the debt ceiling as a toy in January:
It is interesting that the president preemptively struck down the Republican idea that they could take their losses on a fiscal cliff deal, but get it all back by throwing the nation into chaos over the debt ceiling.
The president has been stressing that it is going to be a different ballgame on the debt ceiling in 2013, and he started laying the groundwork for his efforts on that issue tonight.
What was striking was Obama’s tone. This wasn’t a president taking a victory lap. President Obama was more like a shark who smells blood in the water.
And he meant it. What did the big, bad House Republicans do then? Oh, they caved. Of course they caved. They had no choice.
The President also made sure the public knew that Congress tells him what to spend, and Congress is in charge of paying those bills (raising the debt ceiling):
“This is a matter of Congress authorizes spending. They order me to spend. They tell me, you need to fund our Defense Department at such- and-such a level, you need to send out Social Security checks, you need to make sure that you are paying to care for our veterans. They lay all this out for me, and — because they have the spending power. And so I am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills. Separately, they also have to authorize a raising of the debt ceiling in order to make sure that those bills are paid. And so what Congress can’t do is tell me to spend X and then say, “But we’re not going to give you the authority to go ahead and pay the bills.”
If you notice, Lew used the same tactic in this interview today: This is Congress’ job and they need to do it like every other Congress has. Naughty children.
The President smells Republican blood in the water and he’s coming in for the kill. They set themselves up for this one, by using the economy as a weapon of mass destruction again. Obama isn’t going to play and Speaker Boehner is going to be left hanging out to dry by himself, with no one to blame for caving yet again.
The modern day Republican party stands for economic uncertainty, chaos, refusal to pay its own bills, and radical nihilism. Not exactly big tent.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.