Speaker Boehner announced today that President Obama has rejected the House Republican offer to keep their hostages by raising the debt ceiling and opening the government for six weeks.
According to Politico, “Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans Saturday morning that his efforts to strike a deal with President Barack Obama are at a standstill. There is no agreement, Boehner said in a room in the Capitol Saturday, and no negotiations between House Republicans and the White House, since Obama rejected the speaker’s effort to lift the debt ceiling for six weeks and reopen the government while setting up a budget negotiating process.”
There were several big problems with the Boehner’s proposal. The bill he was proposing would have allowed the House Republicans to get out of political hot water right now, and keep their options open to shut down the government and threaten default during the holiday season. Boehner also refused to offer a clean bill. What Boehner proposed would have taken away all options for the president to avoid default if no agreement was reached. In essence, what Boehner was offering was to release his hostages today, so that he could take bigger ones in six weeks. The biggest problem with what the House Republicans tried to pass off as an offer was that they didn’t give up anything.
As Sarah Jones wrote, “None of these “offers” is a Democratic goody. In exchange for Republicans dropping a few loaded guns, Democrats get to enact more Republican fiscal ideology — ideology that Republicans couldn’t even make work when they tried. Republicans have not offered one single thing that Democrats want, like passage of Obama’s jobs bills or money for infrastructure (perhaps an easier sell for Senate Republicans).”
The House offer was not legitimate, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from complaining that President Obama won’t work with them. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said, “The president has got to be open to working with us. Democrats have got to understand we have a seat the table and we have a right to be involved in negotiations.”
House Republicans still don’t get the fact that this is not a negotiation. They aren’t going to get anything for doing their jobs. The president will be happy to work with them after they open the government and raise the debt ceiling.
The Republicans in the House are already promising not to vote for a bill being drafted by Republican Sen. Susan Collins that would raise the debt ceiling through January 2014, and keep the government funded through March of 2014. The potential Senate Republican proposal comes closer to what the president wants, but it isn’t as good as Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) plan to raise the debt ceiling through December 31, 2014.
The main reason why House Republicans won’t support the Collins bill is that it would push any potential government shutdown into the 2014 election. The odds of even these House Republicans defaulting, or shutting down the government during their own reelection campaigns is slim.
President Obama did the right thing by rejecting Boehner’s sham offer. These games have to stop. House Republicans don’t get to offer a postponement of their threat to destroy the economy. President Obama wants nothing less than an to the pattern of House Republican hostage taking, and it looks like that is exactly what he is going to get.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association