Debt limit saves GOP from political showdown

Republicans’ new acquiescence to letting the government pile up more debt with no strings attached spared them another politically debilitating showdown with the president
Associated Press
Feb 13, 2014

Republicans' new acquiescence to letting the government pile up more debt with no strings attached paid double political dividends: It spared the GOP another politically debilitating showdown with President Barack Obama and also forced Democrats to cast votes that rivals immediately used against them in this year's midterm elections.

The GOP's top priority is maintaining its House majority and seizing control of the Senate, and the political strategy is to keep it simple — talk incessantly about Obama's unpopular health care law and avoid cataclysmic fights like the one that led to last fall's 16-day partial government shutdown.

That largely rules out the contentious issue of overhauling the nation's immigration laws.

Both House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., convinced many in their GOP caucus to accept legislation lifting the nation's borrowing authority with no concessions from the Obama administration. Gone were demands for the Keystone XL pipeline, repeal of the health care law and even a popular plan to reverse the pension cut for working-age military retirees.

Republicans wanted to avoid the drama of a possible default and the political fallout from last year's government shutdown. Facing a Feb. 27 deadline from the Treasury, they acted swiftly, realizing that there was no negotiating with the White House or Democrats on the issue. Boehner, who has often struggled with his fractious caucus, including a strong lineup of tea partyers, got grudging respect from conservatives.

"I think it's always better to have something that is straightforward than smoke and mirrors," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., who didn't like the idea of attaching the military retiree provision to the debt limit bill. He added that Boehner was better off with his final strategy.

"It's much more honest to have a straightforward vote," Mulvaney said.

The House passed the debt limit bill with 193 Democratic votes and 28 Republican on Tuesday. Boehner and several other members of the leadership along with a handful of retiring congressmen provided the GOP votes.

"I think the speaker did the only thing that he could do," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. "If you have certain votes that are going to be cast one way, and that's the only way they're going to go and there's no negotiation, then your hands become tied, depending on how many votes that is."

Immigration has no deadline and House Republicans from predominantly white districts see no political imperative to act this year. They fear days of divisive, internal debate over the issue could undercut their standing, especially with core conservative voters. Despite a desire to act, Boehner all but ruled out immigration this year, blaming his Republicans' distrust of Obama to enforce any new laws.

The debt-limit outcome left some outside groups grumbling, with the Tea Party Patriots demanding Boehner's ouster and railing against "go-along-to-get-along capitulation," but no loud voices in the GOP caucus threatened the speaker's standing. At least one Republican had suggested that if Boehner brought up immigration, his speakership was in jeopardy.

Immigration advocates argue that the strategy is shortsighted.

"Why did they go forward on the debt ceiling vote? Because they think their electoral future was at stake," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America's Voice. "If they don't take the window of opportunity to move forward on immigration this year, their electoral future is in doubt. Not in 2014, but in 2016 and beyond. So it may make it more comfortable for them in the short run, but it could doom them in the long run."

In 2016, Republicans will be defending 24 of 34 Senate seats, with several races in states with fast-growing Hispanic populations such as Florida and Arizona.

In the Senate this week, tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz demanded a 60-vote threshold to move ahead on the debt limit bill, forcing Republican leaders such as McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn to reluctantly deliver the votes. The maneuvering opened McConnell to criticism from the tea party and his Republican primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

"Outside of Washington, just about every American understands we can't keep going on the path we're on," said Cruz, who along with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, precipitated last fall's shutdown over demands for Obama to gut his health care law. "We're bankrupting the country. And it's irresponsible to our kids, and it's irresponsible to our grandkids."

Other Senate Republicans saw no positive outcome to Cruz's strategy.

"At the end of the day you still have to deal with the fact that you can't let the country default," said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb. "What's the other strategy? Default? See how the world reacts to that, see what the stock market does?"

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the choice was clear.

"We can put the country through two weeks of turmoil, or we can get this vote behind us," he said.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, the bill lifting the borrowing authority passed on a party-line Senate vote of 55-43. Republican candidates moved quickly to criticize incumbent Democrats who voted for the legislation.

"With a national debt over $17.3 trillion or $54,000 for every American, we are clearly on an unsustainable fiscal path," said Dan Sullivan, who is looking to oust Alaska Sen. Mark Begich. "Instead of righting that course, Senator Begich voted today to send a blank check to President Obama, allowing the federal government to recklessly spend money we don't have."

Comments

grumpy

Re: "So since Repubs now control the purse strings and have since 2011, all this additional debt is their fault? Gotcha! Glad you admitted it."

Ladies and gentlemen this is a prime example of democrat reasoning.

Piddle Puppy in your mind the House, by itself spends every dollar and the Senate doesn't vote on any spending bill?

Piddle Puppy in you mind the president doesn't have to sign the spending bills the start in the house, must be passed by the Senate before going to the President to become law?

Quote at the top of the page shows the intelligence and reasoning power of one of the people who expound on all things democrat. Aren't you democrats proud to have him as one of the vocal democrats making their opinions public?

donutshopguy

All you all do is try to crucify the other party. What a waste of time.

Folks, they are all culpable and are sending our country down the toilet . Wake up before it's too late. Sorry, it might be too late already.

Contango

Re: "Sorry, it might be too late already."

The fat lady is warming up her vocal cords.

IMO, diversify your assets - real estate, stocks, bonds, gold, cash, et. al. as best as possible.

"God bless the child that's got his own." - Billie Holiday

deertracker

Sprinkles is right. Both parties are at fault here. The rest of the world laughs at America!

Contango

Re: "The rest of the world laughs at America!"

Hardly, foreign assets are flowing into the U.S.

More like the majority of world leaders think that Mr. Obama is a rank amateur AND a joke.

grumpy

Re: "Hardly, foreign assets are flowing into the U.S.

More like the majority of world leaders think that Mr. Obama is a rank amateur AND a joke."

The foriegn assests are coming because they trust the federal reserve, not the amateur sock puppet in office. Do Russian wealthy trust Russian gov't? Do wealthy French trust their gov't? England, japan, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal? Germans might, but the countries whose wealthy trust theyr gov't is VERY limited.

deertracker

That must be why he is considered the leader of the free world. Just saw a story about your old stomping grounds pooh! Cabrini Green! LOL!

Contango

Re: "Cabrini Green! LOL!"

Progressive-socialist nonsense. Hope you enjoyed it. You foolish libs at work. lol

The area around University Village (Little Italy) has been gentrified.

deertracker

Snap out of it pooh. Were you one of the snipers picking off some of those progressive socialists? Free enterprise at it's finest!

Contango

Re: "Free enterprise"????

Quit watching documentaries on the Comedy Channel.

grumpy

As I stated they trust the Federal Reserve, not the sock puppet in office. I suggest you work on your reading comprehension, this is not the first time you have shown a lack in that area of communication.

Dr. Information

Hear the new one out of California? Barbara Lee D-Calif and a dozen other house democrats are claiming that global warming could drive women to prostitution and the sex trade business.

Wow, and we let people like this continue to run our country.

deertracker

Did you hear that on faux news?

Contango

Yea, I hate listening to right-wing weather reports don't you? lol

"The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women."

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-a...

Trust, but verify.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Her explanation could neither be any more vague or unspecific. But, as many Ds seem to do what matters more is what's between your legs and not your ears. Instead of focusing on gender (which by many of the same party's efforts is increasingly irrelevant/mutable <--said neutrally) why not focus on what's best for all?

Maybe in her suggestion she should define what a "woman" is as well as specify other details such as...her entire explanation for her call.

Dr. Information

Deer gets his weather from kockgobblers.com.

donutshopguy

deer,

Did you just agree with me?

deertracker

When you're right, you're right.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That's why I appreciate conversation with you, deertracker.

Darwin's choice

More from the morons.....

"On Friday, President Barack Obama is expected to announce his intention to create a "Climate Resilience Fund" that will cost taxpayers $1 billion.
"Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change," said Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John Holdren.
Last month, Holdren explained that the U.S. is cold because the planet is hot.
"If you've been hearing that extreme cold spells, like the one that we're having in the United States now, disprove global warming, don't believe it," said Holdren.
The new government program would be in addition to Obama's global warming initiative announced last June.
In comments to Politico, Matt Lehrich, White House spokesman, said President Barack Obama “is going to continue to make the case that climate change is already hurting Americans around the country and that it will only get worse for our children and grandchildren if we leave it for future generations to deal with.”
Obama is expected to announce his new global warming program in California today, as 49 out of 50 states experience snow and record-smashing cold temperatures."

How about it deertracker?
Coasterfan?
Big dog?

Anyone?

Dcfred20036

Here in the naked truth: in DC nobody cares about the deficit and the national debt, because the plan is to inflate it away over time. The Federal Reserve has already said that their goal is to devalue the Dollar 33% over the next few years. The gov borrows and spends the money at its current value and pays it back with devalued Dollars. And despite the public rhetoric, both political parties are in this fix!

grumpy

Precious metals (gold,silver, etc), gems, real estate, and hard assets are hedges for inflation. Why do you think China, India and others are buying and importing gold by the tons?

Darkhorse

And the Republicans roll over once again. No back bone whatsoever. They are useless.

Darwin's choice

+1000

grumpy

Tis why I haven't voted for a mainparty candidate for president for over a decade. We need more parties, more candidates more choices. Their is little difference in what the parties do. If you listen to them they are different but when they get into office, they do mostly the same as the guy before them did, and usually it is the wrong thing. More parties, more power in the states and less for the feds. Make real change instead of bumper stickers.

Dr. Information

At this point in the game, its smart to just let the Democrats sink on their ship. What good is holding out on a game you cannot win. The media, the president, and all the freeloaders are against you when you try to fix the problems plaguing this nation.

We are going to print, borrow and spend ourselves into one of 2 things: Another civil war, which will not end good for the citizens as any Democrat has proudly displayed they will use a drone on Americans at anytime. Or we will be going to a world currency that will not have enough gold, silver, platinum….heck horse crap to back it up. It will be the new age of digital currency where you really don't have anything but a digital display of your money and nothing to really hold onto.

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