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Tag Archives: debt ceiling

GOP Caves on Debt Ceiling

Updated 5:33 pm ET

In a victory for President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner this evening is moving a “clean” increase the debt limit, failing to tie it to any spending cuts, changes in Obamacare or any of the other ideas previously backed or considered by Republicans.

Republican leaders expect the measure to pass with Democratic and some Republican support. They most recently had considered tying to the debt limit a restoration of military pension benefits that had been cut, but they abandoned the idea this morning.

Obama had vowed not to negotiate on the debt limit. His strategy succeeded.

The House Wednesday will depart for a two week recess.

UPDATE: The bill, which lifts the ceiling for a year, passed 221-201, with a few Republicans joining nearly all Democrats.

Video || Fireworks in the Briefing Room!

Yeah, it happens.

Ed Henry of Fox News, one of the few White House reporters – actually just about the only one – who makes it his regular duty to awaken snoozing C-Span viewers with some cross examination in the Briefing Room, wondered Thursday whether the White House was sticking to a story on the debt ceiling the Washington Post had proved false.

Well, it was sticking to it.

Two days ago, Obama said:

You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.

The Washington Post said presidents had been “extorted” many times by lawmakers attaching extraneous items to debt ceiling increases, including campaign finance measures Democrats led by Sens. Edward Kennedy and Walter Mondale sought in 1973 as Watergate took hold.

Carney maintained that the president was accurate, but note how Carney’s statement differs from the presidents:

There is no question that prior to 2011, there has never been a case where one party with one ideological agenda has threatened to default on the United States obligations for the first time in its –

Now we’re talking about one party with one ideological agenda.

Let’s go to the videotape. Notice how Carney, who is challenged far less than other press secretaries I’ve witnessed, doesn’t deal with it very well in this case.

Expert: Obama Could Seize Power of Purse From Congress

A possible Republican plan to tie defunding Obamacare to an increase in the federal debt ceiling could provoke a Constitutional crisis, with President Obama deciding to borrow money anyway even if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit.

Republicans are currently seeking to attach language defunding Obamacare to legislation to continue government funding after the fiscal year ends October 1. If that fails, they are expected to try to incorporate Obamacare defund language into legislation raising the debt ceiling later in the month. If the Senate, as expected, fails to pass such legislation, the debt ceiling will not increase, and the government may default on its obligations.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, William Galston, a scholar on governance at the Brookings Institution, said President Obama is probably permitted – and even required – to borrow money himself in order to pay off debts coming due and avoid defaulting, whether Congress approves or not.

Writes Galston:

The precise constitutional issue is the relation between the two terse sentences that define and delimit authority over government borrowing. Article I, section 8, provides (in part) that “The Congress shall have Power . . . To borrow money on the credit of the United States.”

The other key constitutional provision is section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which provides (in part) that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions . . . shall not be questioned . . . ”

The most plausible reading of the Constitution allows him—in fact requires him—to do what is necessary to avoid defaulting on the public debt, whatever Congress may do or fail to do. But the Constitution does not allow him to treat all existing statutory programs on a par with the public debt—if doing so would require him to issue new debt above and beyond what is needed to pay the principal and interest on existing debt.

Obama appears to agree.

Little noticed in his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos, which ran Sunday on ABC’s This Week, was a suggestion by Obama that Republicans would be violating the Constitution if they put conditions on raising the debt ceiling.

George, here’s the problem.  The– the– if we set– if we continue to set a precedent in which a president, any president, a Republican president– a Democratic president– where the opposing party controls the House of Representatives– if– if that president is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills– the other party can simply sit there and say, “Well, we’re not gonna put– pay the bills unless you give us what our– what we want,” that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely.

Galston says the issue would have to go to the Supreme Court, but that Obama at least in the interim could borrow money to pay debt. He could also try to fund spending above the debt limit, Galston writes, but this “would be a stretch.”

Though Galston appears to doubt Obama would try to fund spending on his own, the possibility can’t be ruled out. The president has shown a willingness in many areas to push to boundaries of presidential power as far as possible.

Is Obama Setting the Stage to Seize the Power of the Purse?

The White House may craftily be laying the groundwork for a massive and thoroughly unconstitutional seizure of power from Congress. Republicans are threatening not to raise the debt ceiling limit unless President Obama agrees to significant cuts in spending. And so, a move is increasingly afoot to have Obama raise it himself. It’s hard to… Continue Reading

Obama and Congressional Leaders Finalize a Deal

President Obama and House and Senate leaders of both Parties tonight reached a debt ceiling deal that will lower the projected deficit by about $2.4 trillion, avoiding another debate over the debt limit before Election Day 2012. The sum is about the amount needed to extend the debt ceiling through 2012 without increasing the nation’s… Continue Reading

White House and GOP Appear to Have a Deal

It looks like a deal on the debt ceiling is in hand. Alexander Bolton, ace congressional reporter for The Hill, appears to have the lowdown. A congressional source said Saturday night that Obama and GOP leaders had reached a tentative deal that would raise the debt limit by between $2.4 trillion and $2.8 trillion. It… Continue Reading