“The President Is Playing With Fire”

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post this morning filed a report saying House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), came to an agreement over the weekend on raising the debt ceiling, but the White House rejected the plan.

“A Republican aide e-mails me: ‘The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan. A short-term increase (with cuts greater than the increase), combined with a committee to find long-term savings before the rest of the increase would be considered. Sen. Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House and the President said no.’” (Jennifer Rubin, “White House Stokes Debt-Ceiling Crisis,” The Washington Post, 7/25/11)

“If this is accurate the president is playing with fire. By halting a bipartisan deal he imperils the country’s finances and can rightly be accused of putting partisanship above all else. The ONLY reason to reject a short-term, two-step deal embraced by both the House and Senate is to avoid another approval-killing face-off for President Obama before the election. Next to pulling troops out of Afghanistan to fit the election calendar, this is the most irresponsible and shameful move of his presidency.”  (Jennifer Rubin, “White House Stokes Debt-Ceiling Crisis,” The Washington Post, 7/25/11)

Indeed, if this is true, it demonstrates once again that when it comes to changing how Washington works, President Obama is all hat and no cattle. Just as he admitted his debt ceiling vote in 2006 was a political maneuver, Obama’s posture on the debt ceiling in 2011 shows he’s still all about politics. How else to explain his demand that the debt limit be extended until after the 2012 election? It is not as if raising the ceiling for 18 months is technically any more beneficial than for 8 months.

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