President Obama and his allies have repeatedly said that he will not negotiate over raising the debt ceiling, prompting Speaker John Boehner to wryly ask, “Why is the Obama administration willing to negotiate with Putin on Syria ... But not with Congress to address Washington's spending problem?” as reported by Jonathan Easley of The Hill yesterday.
Today, Russell Berman of The Hill writes,
"The Speaker has spent the last several days imploring Obama to disavow his stated refusal to bargain over the nation’s borrowing authority."
President Obama declared that the Republicans were using the debt ceiling to "extort" him, as quoted by Newt Gingrich in an OpEd on CNN today.
Gingrich quotes the president as saying,
"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."
Gingrich sets the record straight for those who tend to just accept Obama at his word. He writes,
Under President Ronald Reagan, one of the most important changes in spending, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, was attached to a debt ceiling provision. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton also signed debt limit increases tied to spending agreements. When we reached a deal to balance the budget 1997, it included a debt limit increase.
Although the President declared that the debt ceiling has "nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt," Gingrich writes that in actuality, "Obamacare is a major part of the budget, and it is now projected to cost twice what the president promised."
Thankfully, ABC’s Jon Karl is one of the few mainstream journalists who dared to challenge the administration on the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration's refusal to negotiate, while at the same time pointing fingers at the GOP for somehow wanting to "shut down the government."
On Thursday, Karl challenged White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on his ridiculous statement about how some Republicans want to "shut down the government" and "allow the government to default."
Here is the partial exchange:
Jon Karl: But your position -- let me just be crystal clear. The President’s position is you will not negotiate over the debt ceiling.
Jay Carney: Correct.
Jon Karl: How is that tenable? So the White House is really willing to risk default --
Jay Carney: The White House is not -- here’s the thing --
Jon Karl: No, but you’re threatening default.
Jay Carney: No, no, Jon --
Jon Karl: Because you’re saying you won’t even negotiate with Republicans on this issue. How is that tenable?
Is raising the debt ceiling a sign America can or cannot "pay our bills?"
Gene Sperling, a senior economic adviser to Obama, repeated the President's frequent assertion that "...we should not be negotiating over whether to pay our bills," as reported by Dan Merica of CNN this week. Contrast this comment to then Senator Obama using the same phrase in quite a different way, as reported by Alan Joel of Canada Free Press.
In 2006, Obama declared,
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills."
So is raising the debt ceiling a responsible act, as it is a sign that America is "paying its bills," as Obama says today? Or, is it a sign that the government "can't pay its own bills," as Obama asserted before he became the President? It cannot be both.