GOP Now Staring at Ceiling, Not Cliff

Reports today are that the GOP is planning to shift  its “hold our breath until we turn blue” strategy from raising taxes on the rich to raising the debt ceiling.  And if they try that?

From “Why Obama won’t negotiate with GOP over debt ceiling,” Greg Sargent, WaPo:

“So here’s a prediction: If this happens, Obama will refuse to negotiate over the debt limit, just as he’s refusing to negotiate over tax rates on the rich. The message will be clear: We’re not talking, if the debt ceiling — and the nation’s economy — have a gun pointed at their head.

Now, it’s true that if the middle class tax cuts are extended, Democrats lose a key piece of their leverage, and the remaining things Dems will want — an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, and a rise in the debt limit — will give Republicans a basis for renewing the push for deep entitlement cuts. But there is reason to believe that this time, Obama and Democrats will tell Republicans that they won’t brook the debt ceiling having any part in the talks.

The argument is straightforward: This isn’t 2011 anymore. Last time, Republicans had won an election; this time, Obama and Democrats won. Polls show the public increasingly sees Republicans as the intransigent party and the primary obstacle to compromise in Washington. The economy is on the mend; by threatening another drawn out debt limit battle, Republicans are recklessly putting the recovery at risk. The GOP’s brand is in tatters, and the party will ultimately cave on this point rather than risk more public blame for threatening to tank the economy again. Powerful GOP-aligned interests in the business community, including the Chamber of Commerce, won’t tolerate another debt ceiling fight. Having perennial fights over whether the country will pay its bills is no way to govern, and it simply must stop. The only way to put an end to this madness is to refuse to negotiate if the GOP insists on trying it again. Therefore, no discussions over the debt ceiling. Period.”  Emphasis added.

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