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Old 07-29-2011, 03:21 PM  
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GOP at war with itself

Debt ceiling debate shows GOP at war with itself - The Washington Post

By Dan Balz,

There was always a mismatch between the tea party personality of the new Republican majority in the House and the politician that majority chose to lead them, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). After Thursday night?s dramatic implosion, the country better understands the consequences.


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The stunning events that played out Thursday night, as Boehner was forced to pull from the floor and rework the debt ceiling legislation he had put up for a vote, was both a failure of leadership and a failure by those who wouldn?t follow. But it was perhaps inevitable.

Quotes that shocked, tickled and grabbed: As talks between President Obama and congressional Republicans over a deal to raise the debt ceiling grow increasingly partisan, their commentary is becoming heated.
Graphic

Four possible options the Senate could take if it tables the House debt-reduction proposal.

Debt Ceiling breakdown puts GOP at risk
Republicans asked the voters last year to give them the power to help govern the country. Thanks to dissatisfaction with the policies of President Obama and the dismal state of the economy, voters complied.

With that authority awarded through the ballot box came an obligation to recognize both the power they were given and the limits it entailed. Instead, House Republicans have spent the past two weeks debating debt-ceiling proposals that have no possibility of becoming law at this time. What they discovered Thursday night is that they were divided enough internally to scuttle passage of a plan that Boehner had put his prestige behind.

Boehner and other GOP leaders will spend Friday trying to pick up the pieces of Thursday?s debacle. How much damage that legislative meltdown has done to resolving what has fast become a real crisis isn?t yet known. But the damage to Boehner?s credibility as speaker and to the Republican Party more generally could well linger well beyond the outcome of this episode.

Republicans have now steered themselves into a position that could make an ultimate resolution of the debt-ceiling standoff that much more difficult. The changes Boehner has been forced to make to his proposal probably will make it even more difficult for his rebellious colleagues to accept any compromise that comes over from the Senate.

If there is to be a compromise ? and the outlines of a plausible agreement were under active discussion on Capitol Hill before the House bill was pulled ? it is likely to be one that badly splits the Republicans in the House. Can Boehner afford that, after what happened to him Thursday?

When he broke off negotiations with the White House, Boehner took upon himself the responsibility to find a solution to the debt-ceiling deadlock. He turned the president largely into an observer this week, save for a prime-time speech on Monday and another statement delivered on Friday morning. In so doing, Boehner heightened the pressure on himself to deliver.

When he pulled out of negotiations with the White House a week ago, Boehner accused the president of not being willing to take yes for an answer in their negotiations. What is ironic, or worrisome, is that he has not been able to persuade his troops that, with the collapse of the grand bargain, they had won the argument ? certainly for now at least.

Neither Boehner?s plan for a two-step process to raise the debt ceiling nor the single-step process advanced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) calls for taxes. The grand bargain so prized by the president and, seemingly for a time by the speaker, seems long gone. But for the tea party faction in the House, that hasn?t been enough. Their suspicions of Washington run that deep.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:22 PM  
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14th?

The debt ceiling solution that Obama dares not mention -- yet - War Room - Salon.com



The debt ceiling solution that Obama dares not mention -- yet
He's still talking compromise and bipartisanship, but the 14th Amendment really may be the only way out of this


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Hours after House GOP leaders were forced to put off a vote on their own debt ceiling bill because it still wasn't pure enough for the true believers in their conference, Obama issued yet another call for Congress to enact a bipartisan plan to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling before next Tuesday.

"There are multiple ways to solve this problem," the president said, adding that "this is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart."

From a rational standpoint, he's right. The main difference between the plan that Harry Reid has introduced in the Senate (and that Obama has endorsed) and the one that the House GOP wanted to pass on Thursday night is over duration. The Democratic plan would put off the next extension showdown until after the November 2012 election; the GOP plan would force another one a few months from now. Given the potentially catastrophic effects of a default, it shouldn't be too hard to bridge this divide.

But this impasse really has nothing to do with rational thinking. It is about a band of GOP House members who embody their party base's knee-jerk resistance to and resentment of Obama -- and that base's conviction that most of America's problems stem from the willingness of recent Republican leaders to compromise too easily. And it's about a Republican House speaker, John Boehner, who is essentially powerless to persuade them to give an inch -- and who flirts with a coup by even talking about compromise.

So it really doesn't matter that, in practical policy terms, the two parties aren't miles apart. The bottom line is that the House is controlled by Republicans who believe that anything short of their own "Cut, Cap and Balance" program -- a draconian measure that has zero chance of ever being enacted as long as Democrats control the Senate and/or the White House -- is a sellout. In fact, the word is that House GOP leaders, in order to finally unify their conference, are now making their plan even more conservative, by making any further extension of the debt ceiling after this contingent on a Balanced Budget Amendment clearing both the House and the Senate.

If this is the direction the House GOP is now going, it's really impossible to imagine a bipartisan solution being forged. Let's say Boehner adds a BBA provision and is finally able to clear his bill through the House. Then what? The Senate was already dead set against his plan because of its call for a short-term extension. Now that same plan would condition a short-term extension on congressional approval of a constitutional amendment that has no chance of securing the super-majorities it would need in either chamber?

So, obviously, the House plan would not make it through the Senate. But let's say Majority Leader Reid and his fellow Democrats amend the Boehner plan, in a way that strips out the BBA language and provides for a longer-term extension. Heck, let's go crazy and say Reid does this with support from Republicans in the Senate, some of whom seem just as fed up as Democrats with all of this nonsense. But even this doesn't get us anywhere, because the amended version would then go back to the House. And if the House GOP wasn't prepared to accept Boehner's plan on Thursday night, God only knows what they'd make of the Senate's offer. Sure, Boehner could potentially go around the true believers and rely on Democratic votes to pass it -- then immediately face that coup he's been trying to avoid since he became speaker.

Obama didn't dare mention it Friday morning, but the "constitutional option" is now looming larger than ever. The idea is that Obama, it it comes to it, can invoke the 14th Amendment, which requires that the United States honor its debt, and simply ignore the debt ceiling. Obviously, doing so would come with all sorts of unpredictable legal, constitutional and political ramifications. And, as Andrew Leonard pointed out earlier this week, even doing this might not be enough to prevent a credit downgrade.

But the case for trying is getting stronger, if only because the prospect of a bipartisan compromise before Tuesday is dimmer than ever. Two of the top three Democrats in the House -- Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Caucus Chairman James Clyburn -- have now both suggested that Obama at least consider it, if need be. So has Bill Clinton. And given that any plan that could even possibly get through Congress will feature spending cuts that could make the stalled economy even worse, there's a solid case that the 14th Amendment is worth invoking simply to spare the country more pain.

It's understandable why Obama is trying to play the Great Conciliator. To judge from polls, he's come off better than any of the other major D.C. players during this fight, although that's hardly saying much. But if this weekend comes and goes and the prospect of a compromise is as bleak -- or bleaker -- than it now is, he may end up the country's last line of defense against a default.

Steve Kornacki is Salon's news editor.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:27 PM  
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"tea party hobbits" & the WSJ

Review & Outlook: The Debt-Limit Hobbits - WSJ.com



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Instead of such a useful reform, a GOP faction is fixated on a balanced budget amendment. After Thursday's stall, the new Boehner plan will only authorize the second tranche of debt if two-thirds of both chambers pass such an amendment and send it to the states for ratification. This will not happen.

These columns drew much notice after John McCain quoted our July 27 "tea party hobbits" line on the Senate floor. Senator (sic) Sharron Angle responded that "it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land." Well, okay, but our point was that there's no such thing as a hobbit. Passing a balanced budget amendment this year is a similar fantasy. Yet outfits like the Club for Growth used the amendment as an excuse to flip from opposing the Boehner plan to supporting it. Maybe it should be the Club for Futile Fiscal Gestures.

The main result of this pointless crusade has been to damage Mr. Boehner's leverage and push the final debt-limit increase in Mr. Reid's direction. The Speaker may now have to seek the tender mercies of Nancy Pelosi to get a final bill through the House, and who knows what her price will be.

The debt-limit hobbits should also realize that at this point the Washington fracas they are prolonging is harming the Republican image. The GOP is not coming off as adults to whom voters might entrust the government.
GOP at war with itself-mccain-tea-party-hobbits.jpg 

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Old 07-30-2011, 08:40 AM  
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The debt crisis has everyone at war. No one wants to kill the "sugar daddy". Democrats and republicans alike love the unaccountability of spending government funds, both use them to garner votes. A balanced budget makes sense to anyone other than a politician or someone with their head in the sand. None of the plans offered so far go deep enough to solve the problem yet they fight and squabble over them. Even an astute group such as posts in these forums has many who support the nanny state concept that is why I suggest that the the national debt just may have eternal life.
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:32 PM  
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
The debt ceiling solution that Obama dares not mention -- yet
He's still talking compromise and bipartisanship, but the 14th Amendment really may be the only way out of this
I can see why he hasn't used it, would just be handing over a ton of ammo for the righties, but in the end he may have to in order to save the economy from the tea party agenda

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Originally Posted by Eddie_T View Post
The debt crisis has everyone at war. No one wants to kill the "sugar daddy". Democrats and republicans alike love the unaccountability of spending government funds, both use them to garner votes. A balanced budget makes sense to anyone other than a politician or someone with their head in the sand. None of the plans offered so far go deep enough to solve the problem yet they fight and squabble over them. Even an astute group such as posts in these forums has many who support the nanny state concept that is why I suggest that the the national debt just may have eternal life.
if either group would have a fair balanced budget amendment I would be for it, the republicans PRETEND to be for it by presenting a bill they know would never pass, but if they just had a bill that had the balanced budget without restrictions on tax levels it would be fair with some exceptions for emergencies. The bill the GOP presented could be disastrous if we ever needed to say go to war or had a major depression.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:37 PM  
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[if either group would have a fair balanced budget amendment I would be for it, the republicans PRETEND to be for it by presenting a bill they know would never pass, but if they just had a bill that had the balanced budget without restrictions on tax levels it would be fair with some exceptions for emergencies. The bill the GOP presented could be disastrous if we ever needed to say go to war or had a major depression.
I loved it when Clinton announced a surplus. I'm fiscally conservative in many ways and I expect us to pay for what we legislate. If you manage to pay your bills and have some left over you save it for a rainy day or you address the crumbling infrastructure of the US. Bridges, rails & highways need help now or more will collapse.

I blame every idiot in this country who didn't scream FOUL when Bush gave that money to Big Oil at OUR expense.

Eddie, Face the Nation has polls saying 84 & 87% opposed cuts to Medicare or Social Security. The DEMOCRACY that paid in intends to get their money's worth. I'd be happy to let Big Oil fund those for a few years if you think it possible.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:32 AM  
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
Eddie, Face the Nation has polls saying 84 & 87% opposed cuts to Medicare or Social Security. The DEMOCRACY that paid in intends to get their money's worth. I'd be happy to let Big Oil fund those for a few years if you think it possible.
It's a big problem to try to get people to face reality. I once counseled a man who was spending more than his revenue. The answer was clear, if his wife drove a used car rather than her new Toyota he would be solvent. His reply,"that is not an option". Obamacare was to eliminate medicare/medicaid fraud, but alas just another promise.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:12 AM  
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Originally Posted by Eddie_T View Post
It's a big problem to try to get people to face reality. I once counseled a man who was spending more than his revenue. The answer was clear, if his wife drove a used car rather than her new Toyota he would be solvent. His reply,"that is not an option". Obamacare was to eliminate medicare/medicaid fraud, but alas just another promise.
apples to oranges, I would gladly support an increase in social security/medicare taxes if it meant it was going to be around for me, since I am from the generation that will never know the security of a pension or post retirement medical benefits, without the government stepping, obtaining a SECURE AND RELIABLE retirement safety net would be impossible, yes you can argue "in theory" or "statistically if you invest in this or that" but the problem is those are not guaranteed. In the case of retirement healthcare it is just not attainable at any price if you have any thing on a whole list of pre-existing conditions as most people do by 65.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:43 PM  
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Originally Posted by RedJeepXJ View Post
apples to oranges, I would gladly support an increase in social security/medicare taxes if it meant it was going to be around for me, since I am from the generation that will never know the security of a pension or post retirement medical benefits, without the government stepping in obtaining a SECURE AND RELIABLE retirement safety net would be impossible, yes you can argue "in theory" or "statistically if you invest" but the problem is those are not guaranteed in the case of retirement savings and healthcare is just non-attainable at any price if you have certain pre-existing conditions as most people do by 65.
You just took the words from my mouth, so only one thing to do.... Kudos for you!
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:40 AM  
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Sen. Rubio: "Save the Whole House or It Will All Burn Down"

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Uploaded by SenatorMarcoRubio on Jul 30, 2011


On the Senate Floor Sen. Rubio discusses the debt and engages in a debate with Sen. John Kerry.
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