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Politico: GOP May Risk Default To Get Their Way

From the water-carrying Politico:

Republicans shun shutdown but flirt with default

By MANU RAJU and JAKE SHERMAN | September 26, 2013

Many Republicans were highly dubious — if not downright furious — at Ted Cruz’s threat to use a government shutdown as leverage to gut Obamacare.

You’d never know that from the rest of the news media, which still persist in claiming the Republicans want to shut down the government. And, of course, the Politico actually goes on to say they still want to, as well. They just want to do it in an even more destructive manner.

But employing similar tactics for hiking the debt ceiling? Well, that’s a different question entirely.

A large number of Senate and House Republicans are raising the threat of a debt default to curtail, delay or defund President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. It’s a major gamble — risking the prospect of a first-ever default on U.S. debt

The government has exceeded the debt ceiling many times without defaulting. In fact, we are past the debt limit now. But somehow things have been shifted around in order to pay our bills and the interest on the ones we can’t pay. (Which is about half of them.)

[B]but it’s one seriously being considered by the same Republicans who have refused to join Cruz’s filibuster attempt of the stopgap spending bill to keep the government running.

“I think the debt ceiling is a good opportunity … to defund or at least delay,” said Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, who opposed his Texas colleague’s tactics on the spending bill. “I’m for delay, defund, repeal, demolish, destroy, whatever the ‘d’ is, when it comes to Obamacare — I’m for.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who dubbed Cruz’s threat to shut down the government over Obamacare the “dumbest idea” he’d ever heard, said Congress shouldn’t give Obama a debt ceiling increase without attaching strings, and the president “is going to pay some price for it, which is a benefit for the American people.”

“I hope [an Obamacare] delay is either part of the next [continuing resolution] or I hope it’s part of the debt ceiling,” Burr said.

The shift in strategy is a sign of how Republicans — tired of being divided over tactics in this fall’s fiscal fights — are eagerly looking to unite in the next battle, hoping to win concessions from the White House.

Yes, the Republicans are always eager for ‘the next battle.’ And they are always eager to accept some meaningless concessions so they can declare a minor victory, when all they have done is cave.

Many Republicans believe that they would lose a public relations war if government agencies were forced to close down, much the way Republicans did in the budget battles with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Repeating this lie does not make it true.

But on raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, Republicans believe they’re on much firmer political ground to demand some spending cuts — or changes to Obamacare — given the public’s disapproval of sky-high deficits and the unpopularity of the health care law.

The public doesn’t want Obama-Care delayed. They want it repealed.

The early debt ceiling jockeying is another sign that Washington will be consumed this fall and winter with a seemingly endless series of fiscal battles that could cause tremendous harm to the U.S. and international economies. Congress is now struggling to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running past Oct. 1. And if the House and Senate reach an agreement, it will almost certainly be a short-term plan, causing Congress to revisit the funding battle as early as mid-November.

Notice that the fact Democrats refuse to offer up a budget never gets mentioned in any of these endless articles about these fiscal battles. There would not be any stopgap spending bills if there was a real annual budget.

And hovering over everything else is the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling — a battle widely expected on Capitol Hill to be far messier than the current fight. Refusing to replay the brinkmanship in 2011 that caused a first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt, the White House steadfastly refuses to negotiate over the debt ceiling.

This is another news media perpetuated lie. As Standard & Poor said at the time, they downgraded the US credit rating because of the government’s failure to cut spending. It had nothing to do with the brinkmanship over the debt ceiling, apart from the fact that the debt ceiling was raised without any real spending cuts.

(And, of course, the Obama administration has subsequently sued Standard & Poor for having had the temerity to downgrade the government’s credit rating.)

But to get 60 Senate votes, President Barack Obama may have to negotiate with Republicans who won’t give him a debt ceiling increase for free.

Isn’t that a crying shame? Again, since there is no budget process (as is required by the Constitution), the debt ceiling is the only tool that the Republicans have left to try to wring any cuts from the Democrats. So naturally the news media are trying to criminalize its use.

And never mind that in 2006 Obama and Reid and Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats tried to defund our troops and lose the war in Iraq via their refusal to raise the debt ceiling. That was a noble cause. When the Republicans use the debt ceiling, they are wicked.

And some Republicans say a clear way to do that is to delay the Jan. 1 deadline mandating the purchase of individual health insurance.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has called Cruz’s tactics “a box canyon,” believes the debt ceiling should be used as a way to slash mandatory spending programs that are driving up the deficit.

“I think there are some achievable things that — like the individual mandate, like the medical device tax … it seems to me that we ought to try to achieve some wins, some policies that we can actually put in place,” Corker said. “I think on the debt ceiling, the best approach would be try to actually achieve something of substance as far as altering the legislation."

What a brilliant strategy. The Democrats also want to get rid of the medical device tax. And delaying the individual mandate will only delay the pain of Obama-Care until after the 2014 midterms. Which will help the Democrats. So it’s a win-win for the Democrats, and a lose-lose for the GOP.

“The debt ceiling provides more of an opportunity to get something than the [continuing resolution] does,” said Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, who is open to the idea of tying a delay of the individual mandate to the debt ceiling.

“Obviously the main thing we are talking about now is the [continuing resolution], but the CR is really a step to the debt ceiling,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). “It leads right into the debt ceiling issue.”

Still, it’s an incredibly risky proposition. Defaulting on the debt could prevent the country from paying bills and have unforeseen economic consequences across the globe, shaking financial markets and affecting government programs like Medicare and Social Security…

Unless it’s the Democrats refusing the raise the debt ceiling. Then it’s fine as pie.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 26th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Politico: GOP May Risk Default To Get Their Way”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Crush the government for all I care. Of all our enemies, Washington DC is the single greatest enemy of the United States.

    Okay. People throughout the Washington Juggernaut have noted my online anti-Government sentence. Their IT programs have logged my sentiment and it goes into the Potential Action File.

    What I want to know is .. “Who are these people who willing exercise the color of law for paymasters in the Washington complex? The cops who exercise violence against citizens? The Kill Teams working for Homeland Security? The 70 Federal Agencies with ARMED MEN willing to shoot you and me?”

    Who the hell willingly works for the IRS?

    These are the people we have to root out and expose. Americans willing to wield Extreme Unction against fellow Americans.

    Neither Obama nor Washington (that includes you John McCain, Lindsay Graham et al inter alia) would be able to impose their will on us without armed men willing to make it so.

    Armed men.

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