A few news sources this morning (including the Atlanta Constitution Journal and Byron York at the Washington Examiner) claimed that John Boehner and Harry Reid worked out a resolution to the debt crisis yesterday only to have it rejected by the president because would interfere with his re-election campaign.
The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan,” a senior Republican aide on Capitol Hill told me. Another senior Republican aide in a different office and a GOP lawmaker confirmed the story as well.
The bipartisan offer sounded much like what Republicans have been trying to sell in recent days – a short term extension of the debt limit of about $1 trillion into next year, and then the creation of a special committee to wring out even more budget savings later.
Apparently not only had the two agreed on the outline of the deal but their staffs were working on the legislative language, until Reid pulled his team out after a meeting with President Obama.
“He and his staff were writing the bill with us,” says a senior Republican. “We were still working on it by the time he got back from the White House.” Asked whether Reid and his staff were fully involved in the work, the senior Republican replied, “edit after edit after edit.” A key GOP aide confirmed the account.
The President’s problem with the bill is that it would have required another debt ceiling increase next year before the election.
“I think Reid wants to get this done,” says the senior Republican. “The problem is, the White House is so far out on a limb on vetoing anything that doesn’t get Obama through the 2012 election that it’s now kind of personal.” For Reid to keep working with the GOP would be a slap at the president and leader of the Democratic party — a virtually impossible scenario for the Majority Leader.
But Republicans believe the entire dynamic on Capitol Hill will be changed if the House passes an actual bill to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. “Then it’s not a theoretical exercise any more,” says the senior Republican. At that point, Reid will have more options. “He has to publicly oppose it,” the Republican says. “But privately, he might not go out of his way to kill it.”
So Boehner will introduce his plan on his own, and get it passed by the house, and Reid will insist on a bogus $2.7 trillion dollar plan, over one trillion of which is savings from our three wars, counting money not spent on wars that the nation is already planning to end is widely viewed not as savings but another of the budget gimmicks that got us into this mess.
Throwing more gas onto the fire is the fact that Goldman Sachs has warned that the U.S. will lose its credit rating unless at least four trillion are legitimately cut from the deficit.
So where does that leave us. While everyone on the left (and Bill O’ Reilly) blame the tea party for being stubborn in this debate, the truth is that this would have all been over yesterday if the President of the United States didn’t put politics in front of the needs of the country. The President has said that poll show that 80% of the country agrees with his approach. While I have never seen this poll he is talking about, if he believes that he is correct and has the public support, than having part two of this debate next year should help his re-election chances.
Screwing the country to help get re-elected, that is the change people elected in 2008.