In Obama speech and John Boehner reply, political jockeying on debt ceiling
The Obama speech Monday night and the subsequent address by Speaker John Boehner were mainly about scoring political points in the bitter fight over raising the national debt ceiling.
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“Cut, cap, and balance” went nowhere in the Senate, and now Boehner is trying to sell a milder version to his Republican majority, though the right wing of his caucus has balked. Boehner’s new plan would also require a raising of the debt ceiling in two installments, a concept that Obama adamantly opposes. Not only would it extend the uncertainty over Washington’s finances at a time when debt-rating agencies are considering lowering the US rating – to potentially devastating economic effect – but it would also set up a second round of debt-ceiling negotiation during the 2012 presidential campaign.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Who's who in the US debt crisis
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In the Senate, majority leader Reid is proposing a $2.7 trillion cut in spending over 10 years coupled with an increase in the debt ceiling of $2.4 trillion through the end of 2012. Before Obama delivered his evening address, White House spokesman Jay Carney called Reid’s plan "a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties."
But chances are, neither the Reid nor the Boehner plans will pass. On the assumption that both fail – and with the clock ticking ever closer to next Tuesday – negotiations toward compromise can begin in earnest, analysts say.
Both Republicans and Democrats say the next election explains a big part of the impasse: Republicans say Obama cares only about getting reelected and doesn’t want to have to make any painful choices (i.e., do his job) amid another debt-ceiling vote. Democrats say the Republicans want precisely that – to make the president squirm over spending cuts right as he’s trying to convince Americans to give him four more years.
The American people, polls show, just want the debt ceiling deadlock to be resolved, so that Washington can focus on the issue dearest to them: economic recovery and jobs.
IN PICTURES: Who's who in the US debt crisis