The AP notes today that President Obama is calling for an elimination of the debt ceiling, in part because of the leverage it gives Republicans to push for spending cuts and deficit reduction.
“Speaking to corporate executives [yesterday], Obama set down a hard line: ‘If Congress in any way suggests that they’re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation — which, by the way, we had never done in our history until we did it last year — I will not play that game. Because we’ve got to break that habit before it starts.’”
The AP points out, “Obama is demanding tax rate hikes on the rich, using the prospect of a worse alternative and the momentum of his re-election as leverage. But the debt ceiling gives Republicans a powerful weapon to extract further deficit reduction too, contributing to the current stalemate.”
But, the story says, “[Senate Republican Leader Mitch] McConnell called Obama’s proposal ‘a power grab that has no support here.’ ‘It gives the president of the United States unilateral power to raise the limit on the federal credit card, the so-called debt ceiling, whenever he wants, for as much as he wants,’ McConnell said.”
Speaking on the floor this morning about why handing the president unchecked power to increase the nation’s borrowing is such a bad idea, Leader McConnell said, “What the President’s really interested in, as we all learned yesterday, is getting as much taxpayer money as he can — first by raising taxes on small businesses that he thinks make too much money, and then on everybody else— not so he can lower the debt or the deficit, but so he can spend to his heart’s content. . . . This isn’t about getting a handle on deficits or debt for him. It’s about spending even more than he already is. Why else would he demand the power to raise the debt limit on his own?
“And by the way, why on earth would we even consider giving a President who’s brought us four years of trillion dollar deficits unchecked authority to borrow – he’s the last person who should have limitless borrowing power.Look: the only way we ever cut spending around here is by using the debate over the debt limit to do it. Now the President wants to remove that spur to cut altogether. It gets in the way of his spending plans. I assure you: it’s not going to happen.”