There’s no denying that House Republican leaders, specifically Speaker John Boehner, looked bad yesterday as they were forced to pull their bill off the floor due to a lack of votes from tea party-backed caucus members; though it looks like they’ll try again today:
House Republican leaders have postponed indefinitely a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) debt-limit bill after they could not persuade enough Republicans to support the measure.
“No vote tonight,” the third-ranking House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), told reporters after leaving Boehner’s office shortly before 10:30 p.m.
The Rules Committee will convene at 11 p.m. to pass a rule allowing them to work on the bill tomorrow.
GOP leaders announced the postponement after a day and evening of arm-twisting in which they worked to convince reluctant lawmakers to support Boehner’s measure to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion and cut deficits by $917 billion over the next decade.
Boehner needs 216 votes to pass his bill, meaning that he cannot have more than 24 Republicans vote against the proposal. There are 25 currently on record opposing the proposal, including Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.
House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to use the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, even though such action would be constitutionally questionable (and yes, I’m aware of the arguments that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional):
Rep. James Clyburn and a group of House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress can’t come up with a satisfactory plan before the Tuesday deadline.
Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”
“If that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term lifting of the ceiling, the debt ceiling, he should put it on his desk next to an executive order,” Clyburn said at a press conference. “He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue.” The Associated Press reported that he was applauded when he suggested the idea at a caucus meeting earlier in the day.
“I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets,” Clyburn added, noting that President Harry Truman did it once during his presidency after Congress was unable to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday. He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan. Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit. I can certainly understand why. Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail. He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.” When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”
Well, yeah. It would help.
A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down. Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget. So, the Republicans produced a framework. They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will. Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have. Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap. I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own. However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election. I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.
On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.
“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.
But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.
“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.
“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”
Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner is continuing to push a proposal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and cut around $1 trillion in spending. But despite support from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (who lobbied his caucus hard) and Rep. Paul Ryan, Boehner is getting no help from conservatives in his caucus, grassroots and advocacy organizations or think tanks. Republican Senators have also panned the proposal.
I don’t think there’s a soul who has read my writings would classify me as an Obama fan. There hasn’t been a lot he’s done that I’ve supported. Going forward, I doubt there’s a lot he will do that I’ll support either. We are diametrically opposed on many issues. I generally don’t agree with him on most budgetary issues either. However, I’m going to defend him a bit, because the conservative website Human Events has gone a little mad:
It’s time to face the unpleasant truth. President Barack Hussein Obama has gone mad.
He’s mad in both senses of the word. Later on Friday, after House Speaker John Boehner declared he would no longer waste his time “negotiating” with Obama, the President gave an astonishing press conference that played out like a nervous breakdown. I don’t know why the press covered it. They really shouldn’t cover any of his press conferences anymore. The price of a seat at the negotiating table is a plan, and Obama doesn’t have one.
There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to anything else the President says, until he produces a concrete proposal with real numbers. Otherwise, as Boehner discovered, no meaningful “negotiation” can occur.
So President Obama must have a plan, huh? Just FYI, President Obama can have all the plans he want, but they have to come through Congress anyways, so why does he have to have one in the first place. He, like many people on both sides, have a vague idea of what they want. I don’t necessarily agree with him on that one, but he’s not that different from most other folks, including more than a few in Congress.
Perhaps nothing more acutely demonstrates the divide between the political class and the rest of America that the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling. With less than two weeks to go before the August 2nd deadline designated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner as the date when America runs out of money, there is still no deal for raising the debt limit. House Republicans, swept into power in November 2010 on the TEA Party/anti-spending tidal wave, have held the line admirably. Even Speaker of the House John Boehner has been more resolute than I would have expected in insisting that there be no new taxes as part of the deal (although this could be less from principle than the realization that to cave in on the tax issue would guarantee a challenge to his Speakership).
At the center of the controversy are the terms of raising the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.3 trillion, with President Obama asking for trillions more. Republicans demand a deal which allows the debt limit to be increased in exchange for cuts in spending. Democrats just want the debt ceiling to be raised period, and loathe spending cuts because it would reduce the size and scope of the imperial federal government, and in doing so take away from their ability to dole out taxpayer dollars to favored constituencies in exchange for votes.
It has been an established understanding for decades now that the Democrats can’t be trusted with national defense. It should be clear now to every sane American that Democrats can no longer be trusted with economic matters either.
Have you ever tried to visualize the national debt? It’s difficult put such an unfathomable number, what the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department treat as numbers in a computer program, into stacks or rows of $100 bills. But a new website, WTFnoway.com, has done it.
Here is what $15 trillion. just shy of the national debt, would look like:
And here is our unfunded liabilties (including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) and other spending programs, which total $115 trillion:
If you were looking for an agreement on the debt ceiling stalemate to happen on Monday, you were no doubt disappointed. House Republicans are, as they were over the weekend, pushing for a short-term extension in the debt ceiling with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Much like “Cut, Cap and Balance,” Boehner’s proposal doesn’t directly deal with entitlements. It merely creates a committee that would eventually produce a proposal for reform, which will be given an up or down vote. Committees on spending never really cutting much of anything, so skepticism there is justified.
The White House has rejected the short-term approach. Republicans say that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to deal with this fight again before the 2012 election.