Republicans To Obama: We’ll Let YOU Raise The Debt Ceiling

Republicans To Obama: We’ll Let YOU Raise The Debt Ceiling


This is one of those times that I don’t know if this is a brilliant political move or absolutely foolish.

Wash Post has details…

It works like this: The plan “would give the President the ability to request smaller increases in the debt ceiling — coupled with proposed spending cuts of at least $2.5 trillion over the next year. It would provide for up to three separate sets of votes on a resolution disapproving of the increase — one later this month, the second in the fall of 2011 and the third in the summer of 2012. The plan is modeled on the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which established expedited procedures by which Congress may disapprove agencies’ rules by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval.”

The first set of votes would avoid the current default danger and ask the president for a $700 billion increase in the debt ceiling; two subsequent requests would be for $900 billion increases.

On the one hand, Mitch McConnell’s move makes it seem like Republicans won’t take responsibility for the mess they helped cause. In short, passing the buck because they wouldn’t agree to closing tax loopholes and expiring tax cuts that were set to expire anyway.

On the other hand, it may appear as if just Obama is raising the debt ceiling, which isn’t a very popular thing to get behind right now.

The opinion on the right…”NO!!!! Don’t let the debt limit be raised!”

The opinion in the middle…”NO!!!! Don’t let the debt limit be raised! And why haven’t you agreed to cut spending?”

The opinion on the left…”NO!!!! Don’t give any concessions on Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security!”

Here’s some more analysis from the Wash Post:

The proposal would in effect be a way out of the current standoff, which was forcing Republicans to choose between infuriating conservatives with a revenue hike or continuing to flirt with the consequences of default, which was viewed as completely unacceptable by business leaders.

At bottom, McConnell’s proposal is the latest GOP line on the debt ceiling — it’s Obama’s problem, not ours — taken to its logical and legislative conclusion.

It’s unclear what the House GOP’s lack of open support for the proposal means in practical terms. And there’s been no reaction yet from the White House.

As I think about it a bit more, I think Americans will think Republicans are kicking the can down the road once again, especially since many agree with the tax increases on wealthy Americans and closing the loopholes Obama has proposes.

Your thoughts?

  • cranky critter

    McConnel’s scheme is a non-starter.

    I think the Republicans may have overplayed their hand. Their leaders don’t seem to have the courage to take yes for an answer unless it involves no use whatsoever of tax increases to bridge the deficit gap.

    IMO, that’s both a minority position and an unreasonable position. But it could still get them more of what they want if Obama decides to move more on the extent of tax increases. I don’t think this is going to go on much longer.

  • Demise

    The Democrats had effectively a super majority in 2008-2010 and they did not raise taxes.

    I say the GOP needs to stand back and let the Democrats do whatever they want.

    Bring their own tax bill to the house and the GOP can vote present or whatever they need to do to let the Democratic tax bill pass without voting for it.

    They can cut the tax rate for everyone making 200k or less to ZERO and they can Raise the tax rate on the wealthy to 70-80-90 percent. They can double the corporate tax rate……Raise the capital gains tax to 100 percent.

    They can do whatever they want and the Republicans will vote present.

    The democrats can raise the debt ceiling to whatever they want…….vote in whatever budget they want to vote in.

    Then when the economy collapses we can get rid of the progressive democrats for another 30 years….just like Jimmy Carter exposed the movement and set them back 30 years.


    What we all know will happen is the Democrats will do nothing. Because we all know that its an Alinsky move to use the rich, taxes and corporations to get votes. To keep their base fired up and to earn another 2 years and another 2 years and another 2 years.

    In the end give them free reign and they will do nothing because they know that the only thing it will do is crash the economy or it will take the Alinsky big stick out of their hand.

    they will never, ever be able to claim the GOP is the reason taxes are where they are, or that the rich are evil, or that corporations dont pay enough taxes.

    So I say GOP stand aside and let the Democrats do whatever they want………and lets see who really blinks first.

    Im betting the Democrats will do exactly what they did with the Obamacare bill….beg to get at least one republican to vote for it so they could claim it was the Republicans who saw the light and needed health care reform in the way of Obamacare.

    How pathetic politicians are…..but Im just saying……give the Democrats the rope to prove to us all……just how pathetic they really are.

    Surely all you progressives on this site would agree…this is a great plan. You can tax the shit out of the rich and corporations and get whatever budget you want passed.

    You can spend 100 trillion on infrastructure……you can build high speed rail all over the place…build a trazillion wind farms……whatever….Demand every citizen join the union. Ban Corporations…….whatever you want….

    Surely you see the pure genius of this….your elected holy graille democrats will lead you to the promised land throwing 100 dollar bills in the wake of their parade for any and all to pick up along the way.

  • gerryf

    Mitch McConnell:

    “[W]e knew shutting down the government in 1995 was not going to work for us. It helped Bill Clinton get reelected. I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy. It didn’t work in 1995. What will happen is the administration will send out to 80 million Social Security recipients and to military families and they will all start attacking members of Congress. That is not a useful place to take us. And the president will have the bully pulpit to blame Republicans for all this disruption.”

    Where to start?

    a) Does McConnell really think that the GOP faithful will fall for such a blatantly political ploy and say, Gee, the GOP really did try to stop the debt ceiling limit increase? (oh, wait, the GOP faithful watches Fox News)

    b) Does McConnell really believe that they don’t have co-ownership of a bad economy? Co-ownership? How about total ownereship? Who drove this bus off the cliff again?

    c) Does McConnell really think that we will believe that the GOP is NOT responsible “for all this disruption?”


  • mdgeorge

    I’m surprised to see you write that the opinion of the middle is “NO!!! don’t raise the debt ceiling”. Maybe I live in a liberal bubble, but the sense I was getting was that the middle realizes that default is not an option, and that they want a compromise involving both spending cuts and increased revenue. In fact, I’ve been hearing that from my friends on the right as well – disbelief that the republicans won’t take such a sweet deal.

  • Mike A.

    Is cranky critter kranky kritter’s evil twin?

  • Centerist Cynic

    I think McConnell’s half baked idea is beyond crazy. Republicans helped create this mess. Running from it s McConnell proposes is a weak attempt to let Republicans shirk their responsibility.

  • cranky critter

    Mike, what have I ever said to make any one think I’m a “no new taxes” ideologue? Nothing.

  • michael mcEachran

    @ cc (kk?): “I think the Republicans may have overplayed their hand. ”

    As my annoying friend says too often, “You think??” The Republicans have colosally over played their extremely weak hand. I feel bad for them, i really do. They have to wake up with themselves, their own blind ambition and their backrupt ideas every single morning. These jack***s are willing to play a game of chicken with our future for the sake of their own ambitions and hatred of all things Obama. Shame on them. Utterly incredible.

  • cranky critter

    Meh. You need 2 to play chicken or there’s no game to begin with. Holding one house of congress is not “an extremely weak position.” Neither is opposition to taxes, according to the polls.

    I simply think they should be more flexible and make a deal. The grown-ups need to find a way to take the win. If they get 3/4 of a loaf, which it looks like they can, they just need to stop being dicks.

  • Anna

    I’d almost agree with feeling bad for the Republicans if they even had 1 iota of shame. Hard to feel bad for people who are so rigid and so convinced of their own superiority that, to borrow from South Park, they love the smell of their own flatulence. The only one I would be closest to feeling bad for would be Boehner of all people, if he really wanted to make a deal but then let the Tea Party crazies bully him out of it. McConnell’s proposal is simply the coward’s way out…so much for “personal responsibility”.

  • Mike A.

    @ cc (kk?) …my comment wasn’t about the content, just the initials. Really had no value.

  • theWord

    No comment other than to note that Captcha has Hebrew characters. WTF????????– So… I had to request another just to let you know.

  • kranky kritter

    Hmm, I don’t even almost agree with feeling bad for Republicans. They had a very sellable win locked up, if David Frum’s column a week or so back was at all accurate. And they couldn’t take yes for an answer.

    This reminds me of the miracle at the meadowlands.All they had to do was take a knee and let CBS run the credits. But then Boehner decided to be Joe Pisarcik and let Eric Cantor take Larry Csonka’s hand-off. Obviously, Obama is now Herm Edwards.

    IMO, Cantor comes off looking like a complete a-hole. I don’t know if he really is on this point, I don’t know what really happened. But I think he’s looking really bad. I find myself wondering what Boehner thought he was doing sending Cantor in. 100% pure speculation, but I’d really like to think Obama and Boehner planned it this way, to let Cantor be the fall guy. That would make an all-time great “old wise guy tricks aggressive overconfident ambitious young guy” story.

    “Here Eric, do me a favor, just hold this bag for me for a second, I’ll be right back… .”

  • Tillyosu

    Here’s my question: if SS doesn’t contribute to the debt, then why would Obama threaten to withhold SS checks if the debt limit is not raised?

    Who’s the “a-hole?”

  • mdgeorge

    Tillyosu: Presumably because the government borrows from the SS trust fund, and not repaying that debt means that in turn the checks can’t go out. But that’s just what seems likely to me; don’t know if it’s true.

  • rachel

    Here’s my question: if SS doesn’t contribute to the debt, then why would Obama threaten to withhold SS checks if the debt limit is not raised?

    I don’t know this for a fact, but the first thing that came to my mind was that the people who work at the SSA are not paid from the SS monies, but from the General Fund, and while the SSA may have plenty of money to give to retirees, it may not have any money to pay the people who do the giving.

  • michael mcEachran

    cc: “Holding one house of congress is not “an extremely weak position.” Neither is opposition to taxes, according to the polls.”

    The GOP’s extremely weak position was having no ideas to offer other than a refusal to raise the debt ceiling and then announcing from the beginning that they absolutely positively wouldn’t allow it to be raised under any circumstance regardless of the consequences. They painted themselves into a corner with a stupid and irrisponsible proposition. For what? For one reason: to whip their tea party base into a frenzy – which is the only energy the modern GOP can muster. The rest of us be damned. Shame.

  • michael mcEachran

    BTW – I feel sorry for Mitch McConnell because he saw this coming and tried to keep the GOP from being in this position (when he refused to endorse Rand Paul , etc.). McConnell and some of the other old guard knew where the tea-party would lead them – here. Now poor McConnell had to introduce a proposal to allow them to (awkwardly) tiptoe out of the corner – and look rather like retreating idiots in the process. The irrisponsibility of Cantor and his ilk is undeniable. That’s why Cantor looked like a precocious upstart in the last couple of presidential meetings, and ended up having to sit quietly in the corner. The GOP will continue to struggle until the grown-ups regain control.

  • Mike A.

    The ideological rigidity of the right makes them appear tyrannical in their leadership. In the short term they will political gain points with their base. In the long term, this will hurt them with independents.

    You know what a person wants by their positions. You know who a person is by their compromises… (or something like that).

  • cranky critter

    It will be interesting to watch the evolution of the GOP as it tries to develop a working relationship between the older guard and the rigid freshmen. The older guard clearly views the freshmen, the tea party, and its supporters with substantial fear. Presuming a deal, how will it affect the freshman coalition if everyone else manages to do the people’s business without their input? Time will tell.

    Mike, I still don’t think the GOP has an inherently weak position by taking a hard line against debt, although I will happily acknowledge that their position as you describe it is a weak one.

    In other words, I think it’s both defensible and publicly supported to strongly oppose tax increases (especially bracket increases) and to insist that deficit spending be curtailed. I do agree with you though that the inflexible hardline position is, as you describe it, a painting into the corner. What we are seeing now from the freshmen is a near-total lack of any transition from campaigning to governing. I can really only support any governing group insisting on getting things just as they want them when they have a supermajority. Otherwise you accept bargaining. Once you sit in a congressional chair, you have a responsibility to govern.

  • Mike A.

    I agree the GOP is not inherently weak, and I don’t have a strong opinion of how this will flesh out. In fact their inflexibility is, in this case, the definition of their strength.

  • WHQ

    In other words, I think it’s both defensible and publicly supported to strongly oppose tax increases (especially bracket increases) and to insist that deficit spending be curtailed.

    What do you mean by “bracket increases,” cc? I mean, I doubt the public would oppose adding brackets above the $383k threshold, which is pretty low. Households making that much aren’t “rich” in the way that households brining in millions, and rates have been racheted down over the last fifty years or so, including rates on unearned income (i.e. dividends and capital gains), most of which is realized by wealthier households. (I say “racheted” because it’s always okay to lower tax rates, but never okay to raise them according to most conservatives/Republicans/libertarians.)

  • WHQ

    That’s 373k (approximately, rounding off), not 383k.

  • kranky kritter

    Specifically, I mean restoring the top bracket’s rate to 38% from 35% IIRC the current and former rates. Having never paid either, I might be off some.

    I don’t think adding new brackets is on the table, and it’s not something I’m suggesting or predicting.

    But I wouldn’t oppose in principle a restoration of 38% along with an upward creep of the threshold. Of course, if you raise the threshold, you begin to run out of taxpayers. It’s pretty obvious, as you mention, that folks making a million or more are much richer than those making 380k. That doesn’t mean those latter folks aren’t rich.

    I heard Carly Fiorina defending lower rates for the rich (or, “job creators,” if you’re a republican) by saying something like “that household led by a fireman and a nurse would be pretty surprised to be called rich.” Apretty ugly and misleading way to try to get blue collar people to oppose a 3% tax hike on the wealthiest if you ask me. I wonder, if you did the search, how many households led by a fireman and a nurse had taxable income greater than a quarter million. I could be wrong, but my guess is “almost none.”