White House: We’ll take a short-term deal on the debt ceiling

posted at 11:21 am on October 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Did the White House just blink on the debt-ceiling fight? After weeks of insisting it won’t negotiate on either the budget or the debt ceiling, a top White House adviser said this morning that Barack Obama would sign a short-term lift in the latter to gain more time for a longer-term agreement:

President Obama would accept a short-term increase in the federal borrowing cap , rather than one lasting a year or more, a senior White House official said Monday. The statement was an acknowledgment by the administration that it may not be possible to reach a deal on a long-term increase in the debt ceiling before a critical Oct. 17 deadline.

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said members of Congress ultimately have the responsibility to decide how often they want to raise the debt ceiling, although he argued that an extended hike is preferable. …

The Treasury says it will run low on cash in as little as 10 days, placing the nation at risk of a historic default. Some Republicans have suggested that if Congress can’t reach an agreement by Oct. 17, they might try to forge a coalition to support an interim measure to increase the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling for as little as six weeks.

Sperling’s comments Monday suggested that the White House would accept such a measure. The statement was notable because administration officials had rejected a short-term debt ceiling increase during a similar impasse in the summer of 2011, when the White House insisted that the debt limit be increased to cover borrowing through 2012.

Until now, the White House has insisted that it will not negotiate at all, and that John Boehner should bring a clean bill to the floor for both the debt ceiling and the CR — and not short-term bills, either, but comprehensive long-term bills. Democrats spent all weekend pushing the message that Boehner won’t bring such bills to the floor because they’ll pass over the objections of most Republicans. In that paradigm of diktat, there is no place for a short-term bill.

That at least implicitly concedes that Democrats and the White House have to negotiate with Boehner and the Republicans on terms for both, an admission that undermines their entire no-negotiations strategy. If the White House is willing to bargain on the debt ceiling, which is the bigger problem for American credibility than a 17% government shutdown, then it’s impossible to argue against some give-and-take on the budget, too.

Why reverse course and agree to a short-term debt ceiling lift now? I’d suspect that the White House has discovered that its shutdown strategy is backfiring in a spectacular manner, thanks to the spiteful attempts to impose unnecessary and arbitrary pain on Americans for the last several days.  It might also be that the statement from Moody’s CEO this morning undercut their messaging to Wall Street, and the utter lack of panic among investors has killed the Obama administration strategy to force the GOP to knuckle under to Harry Reid and Obama.

For his part, Boehner remains consistent on Republican messaging that budgets and debt ceilings should be negotiated rather than dictated:

A default is widely regarded as a much bigger economic disaster than the shutdown of non-essential services. President Barack Obama has demanded that Congress raise the debt ceiling, and avoid default, without conditions.

But House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday there will be no debt limit increase, and no end to the partial shutdown, unless President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats negotiate with House Republicans.

Boehner told ABC News that President Obama and some objective observers are wrong about the number of House Republicans who would vote for a so-called “clean” continuing resolution to re-open the federal government without conditions.

“There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR,” the speaker said.

But Boehner also used his rare Sunday news show appearance to back away from insisting on repeal or delay of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” as a condition for ending the shutdown and raising the debt limit.

Instead, Boehner said, he wants spending cuts through entitlement reform.

I’d guess that Boehner will take a short-term deal on the debt ceiling in order to force negotiations on long-term budget issues, and it looks like the White House has conceded that it really has no choice but to negotiate.

Update: Ron Fournier explains why Obama has to negotiate:

Obama has at least two incentives to talk. First, there is the matter of optics. Voters want to believe that their leaders are open-minded, a trait they particularly expect in a president who promised to change the culture of Washington. Obama simply undermines his credibility by stiff-arming the GOP. Their obstinacy is no excuse for his. During the last protracted government shutdown, President Clinton talked almost every day with GOP rivals Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole.

Second, Obama has an opportunity to deftly steer an embattled and divided GOP away from Obamacare and to an issue worthy of high-stakes negotiations: The nation’s long-term budget crisis. While it’s true that the deficit has dropped in recent months, nothing has been done to secure Social Security and Medicare beyond the next 10 years. Punting this red-ink quandary to the next president would mar Obama’s legacy.

In April, I wrote that both the White House and the GOP House had incentive to strike a deal that would both raise taxes and trim entitlement spending. The story traced the outlines of such a deal, but the moment was lost. Boehner doesn’t trust Obama and is worried about a revolt from his no-compromise caucus. Obama doesn’t trust Boehner and is worried about a revolt from his no-compromise caucus. The House speaker reportedly raised the idea of a so-called grand bargain at a White House meeting last week, and got laughed at. That is the exact wrong response.


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Schadenfreude

Bmore on October 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM

blink on October 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Whatever you need to tell yourself, I support that.
The American people benefit from this this…yes they do.

verbaluce on October 7, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Hostage taking works.

Pablo Honey on October 7, 2013 at 5:26 PM

If Boehner takes this then he would have caved big time.

bgibbs1000 on October 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

If Boehner takes this then he would have caved big time.

bgibbs1000 on October 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

You need to read the memo.
Obama ‘blinked’.
This is a ‘GOP victory’.

verbaluce on October 7, 2013 at 5:35 PM

verbaluce on October 7, 2013 at 5:35 PM

The GOP hasn’t agreed to anything. Obama has offered to accept a deal that he once refused and is off the table.

The GOP may well come back with another offer. But at the moment, you blather is just that… blather.

Keep tap dancing.

thatsafactjack on October 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM

I think Obama’s blinking because this isn’t just a matter of Republicans in Congress holding things up. It’s Democrats there too, hearing a lot of complaints from their constituents about Obamacare.

rickv404 on October 7, 2013 at 5:45 PM

After the scintillating roll out of Obamacare, he is looking to change the subject.

Tater Salad on October 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM

We’re already way over the debt limit! It’s all shenanigans by Obozo and Col that makes it appear as though we aren’t.

Just let the government default. It will be just one more historic failures in the legacy of Obozo.

I wish I could come back to life in a couple hundred years just to see the ripple effect of this abject failure of leadership that is Barack Obozo. History will not remember him fondly.

KMC1 on October 7, 2013 at 6:04 PM

What’s a short term deal on the debt ceiling? Boehner and the House GOP voting to the raise the debt ceiling for nothing?

So, you make $22K a year. You are spending $38K a year. You owe $143K in credit card debt. And, you go to the credit card company and say, “Look – let’s make a deal. Rather than giving me another $16K in credit, just give me another $4K in credit for now. Then we’ll talk what I need to do for the other $12K.”

besser tot als rot on October 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

History will not remember him fondly.

KMC1 on October 7, 2013 at 6:04 PM

An assumption that anyone will be interested history a couple of hundred years from now.

More likely they’ll be completely focused on keeping their bows and arrows ready to fend off the wolves.

Bartertown would seem positively cosmopolitan.

BobMbx on October 7, 2013 at 6:29 PM

It will be like Syria.
 
THIS WAS THE PLAN ALL ALONG, RACISTS!

rogerb on October 7, 2013 at 6:31 PM

‘If my Republican friends believe that increasing our debt by almost $800 billion today and more than $3 trillion over the last five years is the right thing to do, they should be upfront about it. They should explain why they think more debt is good for the economy.

How can the Republican majority in this Congress explain to their constituents that trillions of dollars in new debt is good for our economy? How can they explain that they think it’s fair to force our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren to finance this debt through higher taxes. That’s what it will have to be. Why is it right to increase our nation’s dependence on foreign creditors?

They should explain this. Maybe they can convince the public they’re right. I doubt it. Because most Americans know that increasing debt is the last thing we should be doing. After all, I repeat, the Baby Boomers are about to retire. Under the circumstances, any credible economist would tell you we should be reducing debt, not increasing it.Democrats won’t be making argument to supper this legalization, which will weaken our country. Weaken our county.’

- Senator Harry Reid, 2006

Resist We Much on October 7, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Boehner wants entitlement reform:

Isn’t BarryCare an entitlement that needs a great deal of reform?
Seems to me.

Another Drew on October 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

So, you make $22K a year. You are spending $38K a year. You owe $143K in credit card debt…
 
besser tot als rot on October 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

 
I have it on good authority that making minimum payments and being granted more and more credit is a positive economic approach because it allows you to buy more stuff and then you’re better off because, like, you’ve got more stuff.

rogerb on October 7, 2013 at 6:40 PM

I’d guess that Boehner will take a short-term deal on the debt ceiling in order to force negotiations on long-term budget issues, and it looks like the White House has conceded that it really has no choice but to negotiate.

In other words Boehner will cave.

bgibbs1000 on October 7, 2013 at 6:41 PM

The Treasury says it will run low on cash in as little as 10 days

Has the national debt been “locked” or officially falsified at $16,699,396,000,000 for going on 140 days now?

AP, can we get a clear explanatory post on “extraordinary” measures?

kunegetikos on October 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Punting this red-ink quandary to the next president would mar Obama’s legacy.

Oh, yeah, that’s what will mar it.

SoRight on October 7, 2013 at 6:44 PM

I’m pretty sure the natl debt is way over 17T$ and it’s being covered up by a red line that just got a little smudged. We could be all set up to default before the 17th.

Kissmygrits on October 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Let’s see. he republican position has gone from defunding Obamacare to postponing Obamacare to harassing Congressional employees plus repealing a minor tax (who’s caving?) to “please give us something to cover our butts with:” Boehner’s been humiliated (again) Cruz is isolated and impotent, business groups are trying to recruit moderates to run against tea-partiers (Obamacare rollout problems have been overshadowed) and the standoff has been a modest but real PR success for Obama and the Dems.

Yeah, I guess we can start negotiating now. Offer just enough to get a few more House Republicans on the bus, split the Republican caucus and lock Obamacare in.

Sounds like a good time to “cave” to me.

urban elitist on October 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Let’s see. he republican position has gone from defunding Obamacare to postponing Obamacare to harassing Congressional employees plus repealing a minor tax (who’s caving?) to “please give us something to cover our butts with:” Boehner’s been humiliated (again) Cruz is isolated and impotent, business groups are trying to recruit moderates to run against tea-partiers (Obamacare rollout problems have been overshadowed) and the standoff has been a modest but real PR success for Obama and the Dems.
 
Yeah, I guess we can start negotiating now. Offer just enough to get a few more House Republicans on the bus, split the Republican caucus and lock Obamacare in.
 
Sounds like a good time to “cave” to me.
 
urban elitist on October 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

 
You forgot “ensuring efficient and responsible use of taxpayer money”.
 
Oh, sorry. Nevermind.

rogerb on October 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Here, in millions of dollars, are the recent figures for the value of the debt held by public that Treasury redeemed and issued each fiscal year, and the net increasde in that debt:

……………………Redeemed Issued Increase

2013 7,546,726 8,323,949 777,223

2012 6,804,956 7,924,651 1,119,695

2011 7,026,617 8,078,266 1,051,649

2010 7,206,965 8,649,171 1,442,206

2009 7,306,512 9,027,399 1,900,887

2008 4,898,607 5,580,644 682,037

2007 4,402,395 4,532,698 130,303

2006 4,297,869 4,459,341 161,472

- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/roll-over-plan-treasury-needed-pay-record-75t-maturing-debt-fy-2013#sthash.m8KQjJiZ.dpuf

Something strange happened in 2008. I wonder what that could have been…

UnderstandingisPower on October 7, 2013 at 7:07 PM

UE – nice try – your guy is going to wish he had taken the first offer by the time this is done.

He got spanked on park close-a-thon. Gotta love smart power – especially evicting the elderly couple from their home – he will get to pay double for that as it broke probably every section of their lease arrangement. But of course seeing how this crew dislikes following the law or court decisions I hope they live long enough to collect.

Zomcon JEM on October 7, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Oh – and smart power should have taken the one year delay – it would have bailed out his sorry a$$ from a wonderfully awful Obamacare rollout. How much will add to the debt when the people who try to enroll get their data stolen.

What this has proven – that every critic of Ocare was correct in their assessment of it. That this group doesn’t respect any citizen who can’t write them a big fat check. That anything the govt does for you they will use against you if they feel you aren’t appropriately deferential. If this isn’t a great argument for moving every national park to the states I don’t know what is.

Zomcon JEM on October 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM

MeanWhile,..back at Debt Ceiling Ranch:
—————————————

US government shutdown impact 2013

Social Security Administration: Full benefit payments can’t be guaranteed if debt ceiling isn’t increased – @WSJ

46 mins ago from blogs.wsj.com by editor
============================================

October 7, 2013, 2:21 PM

Social Security Warns Benefits Could Get Cut
********************************************

The Social Security Administration has begun warning the public it cannot guarantee full benefit payments if the debt ceiling isn’t increased.

When asked by the public, the agency is notifying beneficiaries that “Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk,” according to a person familiar with the agency directive.

The warning was assembled after the agency consulted with the Treasury Department, which would play a lead role in determining how the government handles payments if the borrowing limit isn’t raised soon.

“Our employees started receiving questions from the public, so the agency worked with Treasury to provide an answer they could use when asked about the debt ceiling by the public,” a Social Security Administration spokesman said.
========================================

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/10/07/social-security-warns-benefits-could-get-cut/

canopfor on October 7, 2013 at 9:15 PM

canopfor on October 7, 2013 at 9:21 PM

If they declare default, well… Why should I continue paying any taxes?

Midas on October 7, 2013 at 9:42 PM

That anything the govt does for you they will use against you if they feel you aren’t appropriately deferential. If this isn’t a great argument for moving every national park function except those Constitutionally mandated to the Federal government to the states I don’t know what is.

Zomcon JEM on October 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM

At least if one State gets freaky, you can move to another one.

GTT — Gone To Texas.

AesopFan on October 7, 2013 at 9:50 PM

As Long As Obama Dwells There – This Building Should ONLY Be Referred To As:

THE SPITE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because THAT is what it IS – A House FILLED WITH NOTHING BUT SPITE!!!!

williamg on October 7, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Just remember. If you sign an extension, I don’t care if it’s for a week, without any concession or future promise for a concession- you’ve lost.

The pressure is on Democrats now and they are losing this fight.

If past is prologue, they will regroup only to come back with more destructive demands.

Marcus Traianus on October 7, 2013 at 10:00 PM

White House: We’ll take a short-term deal on the debt ceiling

… a temporary testicular treat?

KOOLAID2 on October 7, 2013 at 10:18 PM

If Boehner takes this then he would have caved big time.

bgibbs1000 on October 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

You need to read the memo.
Obama ‘blinked’.
This is a ‘GOP victory’.

verbaluce on October 7, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Yeah, I don’t see compromise as being anything other than a Dem victory in all this.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

So, the republican hierarchy wants to do a short term deal….why? So they can revisit this again in 6 weeks? In 6 weeks the optics may change and the public will not have a willingness to support them against Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

De-fund Obamacare. Period.

csdeven on October 7, 2013 at 10:34 PM

A short time debt increase was my plan weeks ago :-)

Raise the debt limit a dribble at a time; $100 billion in month one, then get spending concessions from the WH, none-forthcoming, the next month the debt increase is $90 billion, repeat as necessary.

Dasher on October 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

csdeven on October 7, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Yikes!
When did you get back?

massrighty on October 7, 2013 at 10:43 PM

1. Beware of a Two Party Evil Money Cult deal on Amnesty being the deal maker for both sides.

2. We must chew gum, pass the ball, and head fake at the same time to keep them off their evil games.

Keep working on the Republican leadership.

http://www.katrinaforcongress.com

Went over to Richardson Tx. tonight for the kick off of Katrinas run for Texas House Dist. 32, (Pete Session seat), seems old Pete is the blocking back to keep a Bengazie Special Pro. from being set up in the House, seems old Pete got him some amnesty lust going down, seems old Pete got the ear mark signs all down his ears.

Some of his orginal supporters who helped get him elected and have helped him in every run until now have gone over to Katrina

Send her money.

She has Michael Malkins support and many many more , she helped get Ted Cruz elected and has worked constant building up the tea party nation wide.

Fight like your kids lives depend on it, and it does each of you know.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 7, 2013 at 11:53 PM

yikes too

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 7, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Boehner : You Blinked first…I got a tear in my I thats all, not a blink that counts…

Obama: I did to many drugs I can not blink if George Soros paid me to.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Yikes!
When did you get back?

massrighty on October 7, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Never really left. How are you doing?

csdeven on October 8, 2013 at 1:32 AM

This poor sick Republic has declined to third world status and its dysfunctional government is helpless to do anything about it.

rplat on October 8, 2013 at 1:46 AM

Obama the pigeon, from a friend, Ha!
“Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon.
The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, shits on the board and then struts around like it won the game.”

Marco on October 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Comment pages: 1 2