Boehner hedging on debt-limit vote?

posted at 10:55 am on April 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not too long ago, Speaker John Boehner said that the House would have to pass an increase in the debt-ceiling limit, but should get major structural reform in exchange.  In an interview yesterday with Politico, Boehner changed his position, and now says the reform has to come before he’ll commit to a vote in the House on the debt ceiling:

Speaker John Boehner won’t guarantee a vote on raising the debt limit, the latest threat in an increasingly high stakes game of chicken with the White House over whether Congress will inch closer to letting the nation default on its credit.

Boehner, in an interview with POLITICO here Monday, also demanded that President Barack Obama give in to Republican demands to slash spending and dramatically change “the way we spend the peoples’ money.”

“If the president doesn’t get serious about the need to address our fiscal nightmare, yeah, there’s a chance it [the debt limit vote] could not happen,” Boehner told POLITICO after he toured a manufacturing company in this western Ohio town. “But that’s not my goal.”

Boehner wants a broad spectrum of reforms before committing to a vote, he tells Politico.  That should include both “controls” for discretionary spending and structural changes to entitlements.  The latter is particularly sensitive, as voters seem to want the federal government to stop deficit spending but don’t want to fix the sources of those massive deficits.

Of course, most voters don’t want the debt-ceiling limit raised, either.  That gives Boehner a lot more political leverage than he normally would have, since he can claim to represent the mandate of the electorate — and a broadly bipartisan mandate at that.  Even a plurality of Democratic voters don’t want it raised again (48% to 36% supporting an increase in the CBS poll).  But that’s also a trap for Boehner even if a deal is finally struck that includes both entitlement reform and a debt-ceiling hike; the result will be unpopular for both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

That means that Boehner has to get entitlement reform and take ownership of it while putting the blame for the debt-limit increase on the White House, an effort amply assisted by the Obama administration’s early hysteria strategy on the issue.  He can’t afford to come out of the battle with nothing but the debt-limit increase and some assorted discretionary-spending caps that save just tens of billions of dollars like he did with the FY2011 budget.  There are no real ways to win in this fight, but plenty of ways to lose.  Boehner’s latest warning is a recognition of that fact.


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Oh quit teasing, Johnboy. We all know you trust Obama and will cave.

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I’ll get excited about results. Keep us posted.

pugwriter on April 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Boehner will fold like a cheap suit and then cry about it.

RedRedRice on April 26, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Sure do hope the r’s stand firm for cuts before thinking of raising the ceiling. I don’t plan to hold my breath, I will probably turn blue. I would just love for bho to have to give and give big time on this.
L

letget on April 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Don’t raise the ceiling, just pass legislation that says what every it takes, x% off the top of federal income goes to pay the deficit before anything else. Figure out what percentage it would take to service the debt and take that amount from every department and agency FIRST before they can spend it and pay China.

rgranger on April 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Racist.

Bishop on April 26, 2011 at 11:02 AM

We’ll see, given the GOPs nearly complete jelly spine thus far…

Weebork on April 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Dr. Zero’s latest:

Taxation Versus Freedom Why tax increases should be off the table. by John Hayward

There are many who insist that tax increases of some kind should be part of deficit reduction. Why not a deal that combines some tax hikes on the Evil Rich with spending cuts?

Three reasons:

1. When such a deal is reached, the tax increases hit immediately, but somehow the spending cuts never happen. No surge of tax revenue will survive the gauntlet of “emergencies” that rush forward to consume it.

2. Raising taxes on any sector of a shaky economy is a bad idea.

3. Most importantly, the most urgent priority for America is reducing the size of government, not just eliminating the deficit.

Galt2009 on April 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Can we quote Obi One….
Republicans. Who’s the more foolish. The fool or the fool who follows him?

lm10001 on April 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Seems like Boehner is for sale, and the price is not very high.

UltimateBob on April 26, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Boehner changed his position, and now says the reform has to come before he’ll commit to a vote in the House on the debt ceiling:

Why is everybody’s panties in a bunch? This is a good thing, no?

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Oh, there’s my balls! Sure hope I don’t lose them again.

John Deaux on April 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Why is everybody’s panties in a bunch? This is a good thing, no?

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

He doesn’t mean it, and Obama will force him to choke on public opinion vis-a-vis entitlements.

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

There are no real ways to win in this fight

Nope! Take a stand, aggressively defend/explain and follow through…WIN!!!
Hide in corner telling yourself I’m gonna lose ‘cuz the polls say so…LOSE!

winston on April 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Don’t wimp out on us, Boehner…make yo mama proud…take a little risk…be bold…enhance your love life…
DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!

talking stick on April 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM

The countdown to cave has already begun….T minus 10….9….8…….

search4truth on April 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Why is everybody’s panties in a bunch? This is a good thing, no?

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Yep. Some people here just have to register their dissatifaction before anything happens so they can appear all knowing.

Vince on April 26, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Harry Reid offered him a bag of magic beans.

A Balrog of Morgoth on April 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Stop making deals! Stop worrying about your political career, and just do what’s right for the country!!! I’m sick of this “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” crap.

capejasmine on April 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Why is everybody’s panties in a bunch? This is a good thing, no?

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Yep. Some people here just have to register their dissatifaction before anything happens so they can appear all knowing.

Vince on April 26, 2011 at 11:16 AM

It’s a good thing assuming Boehner makes good on his word. He doesn’t have a good track record.

gryphon202 on April 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Hmmm…wonder if he’s a little nervous from the emails and phone calls he’s been getting? Wakeup John,you can be replaced you know!

ohiobabe on April 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM

It won’t be the end of the world if the debt ceiling limit isn’t raised. In fact, NOT doing so will be saving the world. Boehner has to choose what his legacy is going to look like to future generations. He will either be one of the last House Speakers in the United States of old, or among the first House Speakers in the emerging revitalized America that shook free from the chains of statism.

I hope the Georgetown cocktail party invites don’t mean more than the oath he took.

itzWicks on April 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Independents are not putting qualifiers on spending cuts. Unlike the two parties Independents don’t recognize “sacred cows” This reminds me of Solomon’s decision, when two women claimed one baby. Solomon offered to cut the baby in half, and the real mother relinquished her claim to the baby – to save the baby’s life. Whoever sacrifices their own self interest in order to tame this deficit beast, that is going to take the country down, is going to be seen as the Adult on this issue.

So far the Democrats aren’t even engaging the public on reigning in spending and reducing the deficit. The Republicans can’t figure out a winning position when it lands in their laps?

Dr Evil on April 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

To stop the runaway borrowing and spending, there can be no debt ceiling increase. Just say no. Then the borrowing is limited. That’s why they call it a debt ceiling.

The Republicans can say we’ll pay Social Security, Medicare, Defense, and Interest first, and then we’ll make choices about everything else.

Emperor Norton on April 26, 2011 at 11:23 AM

3. Most importantly, the most urgent priority for America is reducing the size of government, not just eliminating the deficit.

Galt2009 on April 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Progressive tax rates with thousands of complex exemptions are a chisel used in the sculpture of society, not a logical system for amassing an optimum amount of revenue with minimal burden upon the taxpaying public. The money brought in by this system is not carefully allocated to fund the vital duties of government. Politicians spend in accordance with their appetites, not their means. They only pretend to worry about how their programs will be paid for when public outrage can no longer be ignored.This was also part of his piece and goes to the very nature of the structural changes we need to fix our problem.

fourdeucer on April 26, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Next week we are going to cut $100 BILLION from this budget … WRITE THAT DOWN! ONE HUNDRED BILLION and we’re not going to stop there!

Just sayin.

HondaV65 on April 26, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Yep. Some people here just have to register their dissatifaction before anything happens so they can appear all knowing.

Vince on April 26, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Have you been living under a rock? What was the total number of billions that Boehner cut in the last budget?

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I think if we took the bait a few weeks back and shut the government down, we’d be in a much weaker position right now in negotiating over the debt ceiling. Even if we won the PR war, soldiers and other folks would just be recovering economically from their checks being put on hold, and would not support brinksmanship again.

Sekhmet on April 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

It’s a good thing assuming Boehner makes good on his word. He doesn’t have a good track record.

gryphon202 on April 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM

I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I know most of us here felt that he did cave the last time but I think he learned his lesson. No caving this time.

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Come on Ed… this is more than hedging. Give him a little credit once in a while.

He may not stick to it. But save the criticsm until then.

petunia on April 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

It’s going to take Independents for Republicans to get elected in November 2012. Hint Democrat 2.0 is not an alternative to Democrat 1.0.

Dr Evil on April 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM

I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I know most of us here felt that he did cave the last time but I think he learned his lesson. No caving this time.

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

There’s a reason that pessimists are rarely accused of foolishness.

gryphon202 on April 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM

we can hope that Mr. Boehner is:
Loosing the tan and growing a pair!

400lb Gorilla on April 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM

He may not almost certainly will not stick to it. But save the criticsm until then.

petunia on April 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I, for one, have no reason to believe that he will. But whatever turns your crank.

gryphon202 on April 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM

John (No Gonads) Boehner will cave in.

hawkman on April 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

1. Over promising in the beginning.

2. Fold like a tent in deal making.

3. Lashing out at critics after the fact (“I’m sticking to the numbers”), you all will just have to trust him.

Haven’t we seen this play before? Contrast that to the previous speaker, she only did the number 3 item showing us she has more gonards than Boner.

Sir Napsalot on April 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Just pass a bill that tells the Treasury the order of things that get paid out in-full, and put servicing our current debt at the top of the list before anything else.

The D’s have been harping on this as a result of no debt ceiling hike: call them on it.

Use the power of the purse as it is the one that calls the tune.

Progressives have tried to normalize slackluster attitudes towards spending, bankruptcy and defaulting on debt to make it a much lower pain concept socially than it was 50 years ago. Our Nation needs to be reminded that our word on all other things depends on our ability to pay back our debt via the maintenance of it. That should be a one-page, one-paragraph bill that should sail through the House, rot minds in the Senate as they feel a shaft of sunlight appearing before they pass it, then force the President to acknowledge he is not all-powerful in all things of the government. He knows that if he doesn’t pass it he will not get any raise in the debt ceiling… and if he does then the issue goes back to purely monetary questions, not defaulting on debt maintenance but defaulting on spending and governments do that all the time. A debt incurred is a debt owed… money not spent is money not spent, no debt created.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

*sigh* gonads

Sir Napsalot on April 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Is there any truth in the rumor that JB has doubled the size of his Kleenex order for his office ?

Sandybourne on April 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Harry Reid offered him a bag of magic beans.

A Balrog of Morgoth on April 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Ya know, I haven’t been laughing a lot of politics off as of late..because this isn’t really funny. I’m scared, and I know many, many people are too…but that tickled me. I got a good chuckle from that. Thank you!

capejasmine on April 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM

There’s a reason that pessimists are rarely accused of foolishness.

gryphon202 on April 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Quick question, in general, which party – d or R – would you say is more pessimistic about our Country?

VegasRick on April 26, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Boehner does not inspire me with confidence – He Folds Like Cheap Republican Lawn Furniture. This isn’t a new phenomena among Republicans.

Dr Evil on April 26, 2011 at 11:36 AM

We shall see what happens. It must not be too big of a deal because they all went on vacation this past week without even debating it.

Brat4life on April 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Talk is cheap … We want to know who has you by the balls.

tarpon on April 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Mr. Speaker there will be NO raising the debt ceiling until REAL cuts are made to the budget, PERIOD!! If Mr. Boehner doesn’t come up with around $50 million in real cuts EVERYWHERE (even Defense) this is going to be one hot summer for the GOP!!

Mr. Speaker, YOU to can be FIRED!!!

mmcnamer1 on April 26, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Do we think they’re stupid, asks our dear leader. Mr. B will have a difficult if not possible time of it if he tries to pin the blame tail on the donk in chief. Mr. Smoke and Mirrors will find someone to blame and create another commission to study it for awhile.

Kissmygrits on April 26, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Just pass a bill that tells the Treasury the order of things that get paid out in-full, and put servicing our current debt at the top of the list before anything else.

The D’s have been harping on this as a result of no debt ceiling hike: call them on it.

Use the power of the purse as it is the one that calls the tune.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

If he does that, the Dems will not agree to pass it in the Senate.

So then we’re right back where we were last month – staring at a shutdown.

Who will blink first, do you think? Boehner or Reid?

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Talk is cheap … We want to know who has you by the balls.

tarpon on April 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Open Secrets Org has his top donors.

Dr Evil on April 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Don’t hold your breath…….

ultracon on April 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM

General Electric is #3 in Influence and Lobbying. Chamber of Commerce is #1 It’s interesting that the Obama Administration attacks the Chamber of Commerce for funneling foreign money into the campaigns donations to Republicans. General Electric didn’t pay any taxes in the U.S. because they parked their profits off shore in foreign banks.

It’s an odd relationship Donald Trump’s celebrity apprentice program is on NBC a GE holding.

Dr Evil on April 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Ed — bit of a mistaken assumption here: as has been pointed by a couple legislators, failure to raise the debt limit is not the same as failure to make interest payments on existing debt — i.e., it isn’t “default.”

TallDave on April 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 11:43 AM

And the Democrats will be responsible.

Then Obama will tell the Treasury NOT to pay our debt maintenance to carry out their agenda.

And who will have been the ones pointing to fiscal sobriety? The spenderiffic Dems? The President who can’t only not balance a budget, but not pay our debts? The talking point is only actionable if they are never CALLED ON IT.

Call them on it.

Force the Senate to put up or shut up about the proper way to manage finances. It is one of the easiest talking points to remove, can be done quickly with little fanfare until it hits the Senate, and then let everyone know who is holding it up: the Senate. And the remaining Blue-in-the-face Dog Dems will be pressuring Harry to put it up for a vote because they know this might be a way to show they have some comprehension of what fiscal rectitude looks like.

Fast, simple, one page, easy to read and understand.

Add on a cover page like ‘Fiscal Spending Priorities During Budget Shorfalls’ and you have a pure winner.

Of course this takes a rudimentary nervous system able to carry out a few vital functions to supply a brain with oxygen and nutrients. I’m pretty convinced that is generally lacking Upon The Hill.

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You’re preaching to the choir. So why do I believe that the GOP doesn’t have the stones to do it?

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 12:04 PM

ajacksonian on April 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You never answered my question:

Who will blink first, do you think? Boehner or Reid?

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

This reminds me of promises to secure the border…

Seven Percent Solution on April 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM

On Rush today:

Boehner: Time to cut the oil subsidies so Big Oil pays its fair share

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM

LOL. This is good! Boehner is calling Geithner’s bluff. There is no danger of default unless Barack Obama wants the U.S. government to default. Interest on debt amounts to less than 10% of total government spending.

rockmom on April 26, 2011 at 12:21 PM

On Rush today:

Boehner: Time to cut the oil subsidies so Big Oil pays its fair share

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM

That would presumably be the same Big Oil as Shell, who got screwed out of $2.2B when the Feds sold them an oil lease where they won’t let them drill?

cthulhu on April 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Boehner must have a guarantee that congress will approve and the president will sign a constituional amendment for a balanced budget.
We should all demand it.
Of course it still has to be ratified by 2/3 of the states, but that actually is the easy part.

paulsur on April 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Boehner must have a guarantee that congress will approve and the president will sign a constituional amendment for a balanced budget.
We should all demand it.
Of course it still has to be ratified by 2/3 of the states, but that actually is the easy part.

paulsur on April 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

The EASY PART?

And how long do you think ratification will take? Weeks? Months? Years?

In the meantime, spending goes through the roof.

Yeah, if I was a Democrat, I’d go for this deal.

fossten on April 26, 2011 at 12:44 PM

yeh, the decision to raise the debt ceiling has already been made…suckers.

equanimous on April 26, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Boehner will cave.

Nelsen on April 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Nobody’s buying it, Speaker. That’s what happens when you cave on the smaller stuff, ostensibly to preserve your ability to fight on the big stuff. You’ve shown your hand, and the opp knows you are holding deuces.

james23 on April 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Sadly the Republican Party ain’t going to do nothing to rock the boat while it has RINO’s leading the party.Most of them are affraid of their own shadows and are scared to offend Obumbles in any way. John Boehner is no leader, not now , not ever, JB is just another country club RINO.

Allen West, the time is now, your time is now ,your country needs you , a leader.

Sandybourne on April 26, 2011 at 1:50 PM

He’s singing the tune the base wants to hear, but the background music is totally different.

SouthernGent on April 26, 2011 at 1:52 PM

A Balanced Budget Amendment takes 3/4 of the State’s ratification…and may take years to accomplish…Nevertheless, it should be an absolute must!.. However, spending cuts and downsizing government are the immediate issues that also must prevail….There is no “shut down” at stake here….If the ceiling is not raised, we may not be able to borrow more money…And this is detrimental, how??? Fer crissake, borrowing is the problem, not the solution!! UNABLE TO BORROW…Wow…That IS the ultimate balanced budget!!! You can’t spend what you can’t borrow…and there is no interest on UN-borrowed money…

b4lucy on April 26, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Have you been living under a rock? What was the total number of billions that Boehner cut in the last budget?

fossten

Come on, now, I’m sure the guy who was afraid to shut down government for a few days will be more than willing to potentially cause the country to collapse now. Defaulting on the debt isn’t as big a deal as closing Yosemite for a weekend.

/Sarc

xblade on April 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM

First of all look where this quote came from. Politico. Would you believe anything written on a piece of used toilet paper? Neither would I and that is politico, used toilet paper. These people(?) that work there are subhuman and hate the right side of our gov more than their own lives. My take on Boehner is that he will or has gotten the message that the people want the R’s to NOT vote for the debt ceiling raise and that if he goes against them he is toast. None of us are going to buy the “End of the world” crap again. He either votes no, if he doesn’t get major cuts in spending that are not veto-able by Hussein, or he is through as a Rep and a Republican. Ohio is ready to rumble and Boehner had better get on board.

inspectorudy on April 26, 2011 at 2:31 PM