Boehner vs. Obama – The Speaker Lives In The Real World
President Obama hosted a lunch today for the top leaders of the House and Senate to address the impending debt ceiling increase, and it’s clear he and Speaker Boehner are not on the same page.
Then again Speaker Boehner is not the one who just had his budget defeated in the Senate by a 99-0 vote. This following a previous 414-0 rejection of his budget by the House in March, so the President seems like the one who has to come to grips with his failed positions.
From a Washington Post article about the meeting:
President Obama warned congressional leaders on Wednesday that he would not tolerate a replay of the bitter debt ceiling fight of last summer that nearly put the United States in default and led to the nation’s first ever credit-rating downgrade.
During lunch at the White House with top leaders of the House and Senate, Obama called the political deadlock last year “not acceptable” and emphasized that he expects a “serious bipartisan approach” to tackling the budget and growing federal deficit this year, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Obama stressed the need to “avoid fighting old political fights,” Carney told reporters after the meeting. “It’s simply not acceptable to hold the American and global economy hostage to one party’s political ideology. It’s the responsibility of Congress to ensure that the United States of America pays its bills, maintains its creditworthiness.”
The President seemed to stress a lot of things but the problem is he did not offer, nor has he offered, any concrete means of reducing spending. The bottom line is it’s the same old song and dance, lots of rhetoric with no fundamental method to address the real problem.
Speaker Boehner was very clear that proactively tackling the issue was the responsible tact and that spending cuts are an absolute requirement.
From a US News & World Report article:
It has often been said that good public policy makes good politics. These words could not be truer about Speaker John Boehner’s bold move to go on the offense and offer to address the debt ceiling increase now instead of waiting until around the election.
The speaker’s demand that the federal government offset any increase with greater spending cuts and reforms creates a debate that favors Republicans and gives them the high ground. He is successfully framing the discussion on how best to tackle our economic problems that will grow louder as November approaches.
The move places President Obama and the White House in an awkward position of defending the status quo of Washington. Just look at what happened between Obama and congressional leaders as they met over lunch at the White House. The speaker’s office released these comments:
In a discussion of the debt limit, the Speaker–who has warned that the growing debt is hurting U.S. job creation–asked the President if he is proposing that Congress pass an increase that does not include any spending cuts to help reduce the deficit. The President said, “yes.” The Speaker told the President, “as long as I’m around here, I’m not going to allow a debt ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt.
Pouring quick cement around this play, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he does not support Boehner’s condition, saying he hoped Washington could raise the debt ceiling “without the drama and the pain and the damage” of last year. Interpretation: Democrats want more spending without answering to voters and dealing with the consequences of an election.
The Speaker has been a man on his message lately, and has been very focused on the debt ceiling, economy, jobs and reducing out-of-control government spending. Today was no exception and if Obama is truly looking for a bipartisan solution without a bitter fight, he better accept his spend, spend, spend our way out of economic despair has not worked, and the Speaker is not going to allow I to continue.
It’s time for Barack Obama to start living in the real world because John Boehner and the American public are already there, and neither seem willing to allow the President to continue to reside in his fantasy world.
Of course he’s free to live anywhere he wants after he vacates the White House in January!