Is the GOP already giving up on the next debt-ceiling standoff?

posted at 5:21 pm on January 29, 2014 by Allahpundit

Politico says yes, with good reason. The shining lesson of the debt-ceiling brinksmanship we’ve all watched over the past two and a half years is that Boehner and McConnell, for prudent reasons, simply will not allow the country to experience a technical default. The risk to the economy and to the GOP’s political hopes is too great. If that’s how they’ve approached the previous standoffs then of course they’re going to take the same approach in an election year when the party’s poised to recapture the Senate. The motto for Republican members of Congress in 2014 is “no sudden moves” — or at least it should be. As Bill Kristol noted the other day, there’s still a chance for a seriously self-sabotaging move on immigration.

Question, though. If the game plan next month is to fold and then sit back while ObamaCare’s foibles destroy the Democrats’ chances in November, why was Paul Ryan telling people in December after the much-derided budget deal to stay tuned for the GOP’s debt-ceiling demands? Why did Mitch McConnell say just three days ago that a clean debt-ceiling hike with no concessions for the GOP would be “irresponsible”? That’s an odd way to prepare your base for a letdown.

The most senior figures in the House Republican Conference are privately acknowledging that they will almost certainly have to pass what’s called a clean debt ceiling increase in the next few months, abandoning the central fight that has defined their three-year majority.

The reason for the shift in dynamics in this fight is clear. Congress has raised the debt limit twice in a row without drastic policy concessions from President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, essentially ceding ground to Democrats. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are again ruling out negotiations over the nation’s borrowing limit, which would leave Republicans fighting against a unified Democratic front. It’s a tricky situation for the GOP in an election year: They would have to pass a clean debt limit bill or risk default…

“I’ve been saying publicly that once we voted for the budget, you knew that you were going to get a clean debt ceiling,” said conservative Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), referring to the recently passed budget deal that he voted against. “The time to fight for spending cuts is when you’re talking about spending, not at debt ceiling time. So when people caved on the budget and caved on the [Ryan-Murray] agreement, it’s really hard for them to come back and say, ‘We don’t want to increase the debt ceiling’ when they’ve already voted for something that increases the debt.”

According to Politico, “At least a dozen Republican aides and lawmakers are highly skeptical they will be able to craft something that will attract the support of 217 GOP lawmakers.” Really? I can think of something that would, or should, get 217 Republican votes: Repeal the “risk corridor,” i.e. bailout, provisions for insurers in ObamaCare. Krauthammer’s been pushing that for weeks, in fact, as the ultimate poison pill for Obama and vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the Senate. If O and Harry Reid want a debt-ceiling hike, all they have to do is agree not to shovel taxpayer money at an industry that’s struggling to cope with the adverse selection chaos engineered by Obama’s big policy “achievement.” If I were Boehner, I’d call a presser today and announce that as my one and only demand, just to maximize the time for Republicans to push the “do Democrats support another bailout or don’t they?” message in the media before we hit the debt limit. Obama knows what it would mean for the insurance industry potentially if the risk corridor life raft is suddenly towed away, so he’ll force Reid to bottle the idea up. But that’s okay; the point here isn’t to force Reid to pass it, which the GOP can’t do, but merely to have that lone reasonable demand dangling out there in the public eye to show voters where the Democrats’ priorities are. If Boehner has to pass a clean debt hike at the eleventh hour, fine, but at least extract a pound of political flesh for it first. It’s a no-brainer as far as I can see. Why aren’t they doing it already?


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probably.

Sachiko on January 29, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Make the ceiling $100 trillion, if we’re never going to pay anything back then we might as well go out with a boom.

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 5:25 PM

….at least tie it to the Ocare insurance bailout.

Tater Salad on January 29, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Pathetic.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday conceded House Republicans are playing a weaker hand on the debt limit following last fall’s government shutdown.

Boehner said the GOP has few good options for extracting concessions from a White House that refuses to deal.

aquaviva on January 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

It’s a no-brainer as far as I can see. Why aren’t they doing it already?

It’s not full repeal or defund so it won’t get 218 votes.

Mark1971 on January 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

It’s a no-brainer as far as I can see. Why aren’t they doing it already?

Because “no brain” would be an improvement for these people.

Fabozz on January 29, 2014 at 5:31 PM

It’s a no-brainer as far as I can see. Why aren’t they doing it already?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

SirGawain on January 29, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Why won’t they?

Duh, stupid party.

Jeff Weimer on January 29, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Of course they have!

This is not the hill to fight on. The GOP elites need to give Obama and vulnerable donks a few wins so they can lose the HOR and not gain the senate.

It’s almost like they don’t want to be in power.

Go long gold and lead.

jukin3 on January 29, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Crybaby already showed his cards.

Pathetic.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday conceded House Republicans are playing a weaker hand on the debt limit

aquaviva on January 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

GOP tactical Plan:

“Ready. Aim. RETREAT!”

portlandon on January 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Standoff?

kcewa on January 29, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Why aren’t they doing it already?

It’s far easier to just preemptively surrender in the style already established by the Vichy Republicans…

…this way, the MSM will not be quite so mean to them. Well, at least until the next time that Obama wants something to advance his agenda.

Athos on January 29, 2014 at 5:36 PM

This, along with the news from Paul Ryan today, leads me to conclude that republicans really suck.

jaime on January 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Crybaby already said he had a “weak hand”.

aquaviva on January 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Because they’re idiots?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Because “no brain” would be an improvement for these people.

Fabozz on January 29, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Yeah, the walking dead have more brains among them than Congressional Republicans. They’re still playing Pop Warner ball while the Dems are in the NFL. The GOP wins when they start looking for trophies and not participation ribbons.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 5:39 PM

This, along with the news from Paul Ryan today, leads me to conclude that republicans really suck.

jaime on January 29, 2014 at 5:37 PM

The surrender weasels anyway.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Remind me again why we need to keep these folks around.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 5:42 PM

like I said, I don’t have a party anymore, these guys suck

DanMan on January 29, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Is the GOP already giving up on the next debt-ceiling standoff?

Not until they get an INCREASE in spending!

Freddy on January 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Why did Mitch McConnell say just three days ago that a clean debt-ceiling hike with no concessions for the GOP would be “irresponsible”?

He was just performing for the cameras. Later on, he will point to that interview to string along under educated primary voters.

Freddy on January 29, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Is the GOP already giving up on the next debt-ceiling standoff?

Is anyone surprised?

Did anyone not see this coming?

Remember the guffawing at all of the mindless “not this hill, not this fight – wait for the debt ceiling!” twaddle?

*pffft*

Midas on January 29, 2014 at 5:47 PM

GOP tactical Plan:

“Ready. Aim. RETREAT!”

portlandon on January 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Longue vie Parti républicain aux Etats-Unis!!!

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday conceded House Republicans are playing a weaker hand on the debt limit following last fall’s government shutdown.

Boehner said the GOP has few good options for extracting concessions from a White House that refuses to deal.

aquaviva on January 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Good God Almighty.

Pajamaboy has more hair on his nuts than the entirety of the GOP leadership in Congress.

Midas on January 29, 2014 at 5:50 PM

The risk to the economy and to the GOP’s political hopes is too great.

This is their position on just about everything.

besser tot als rot on January 29, 2014 at 5:51 PM

I wish someone like Krauthammer would run for office. He’s probably way too smart for that, though.

scalleywag on January 29, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Politico says yes, with good reason. The shining lesson of the debt-ceiling brinksmanship we’ve all watched over the past two and a half years is that Boehner and McConnell, for prudent reasons, simply will not allow the country to experience a technical default. The risk to the economy and to the GOP’s political hopes is too great. If that’s how they’ve approached the previous standoffs then of course they’re going to take the same approach in an election year when the party’s poised to recapture the Senate. The motto for Republican members of Congress in 2014 is “no sudden moves” — or at least it should be. As Bill Kristol noted the other day, there’s still a chance for a seriously self-sabotaging move on immigration.

It’s all part of the plan by the lesser half of the bipartisan Party-In-Government to crush the TEA Party Movement once and for all and remain the lesser half of the PIG.

Steve Eggleston on January 29, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Why did Mitch McConnell say just three days ago that a clean debt-ceiling hike with no concessions for the GOP would be “irresponsible”?

He got a dam last time out. I’m sure there’s something Kentucky wants that he thought he could get. It’s an election year, you know.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Where’s KingGold to tell us that this is a good move and that this isn’t the right battle and that the hill that’s right behind the hill that’s a bit farther back from the hill that’s a distance away from the hill that’s barely visible in the distance is the hill to fight on?

topdawg on January 29, 2014 at 6:00 PM

GOP tactical Plan:

“Ready. Aim. RETREAT!”

portlandon on January 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

They don’t even bother with aiming anymore.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 6:01 PM

When even Hotair’s own lovable RINO has the answer, yet the GOP “leadership” doesn’t, then you know they have no interest in actually stopping anything.

SouthernGent on January 29, 2014 at 6:02 PM

GOP tactical Plan:

“Ready. Aim. RETREAT!”

portlandon on January 29, 2014 at 5:33 PM

They don’t even bother with aiming anymore.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Considering retreat is their answer for everything, do they even need to get ready to retreat at this point?

Athos on January 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM

The conservatives in congress could threaten to break off and form a new party. If they don’t, then there are no Republicans worth keeping.

Buddahpundit on January 29, 2014 at 6:10 PM

They don’t even bother with aiming anymore.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Oh they’re aiming, just not at the demorats.

Bishop on January 29, 2014 at 6:12 PM

How do you fight for spending cuts on the debt ceiling when you passed that budget, you big dummies?

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 6:15 PM

How do you fight for spending cuts on the debt ceiling when you passed that budget, you big dummies?

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 6:15 PM

You’re not supposed to catch that. Or be smart enough to get that.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Where’s KingGold…?

topdawg on January 29, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Kissing his reflection.

CurtZHP on January 29, 2014 at 6:37 PM

“It’s a no-brainer as far as I can see. Why aren’t they doing it already?”

The Repubs are really, really scaring me. From Obamacare to immigration to debt, they aren’t even hiding behind charades anymore about betraying the country… it doesn’t seem to worry them at all… either they are incredibly stupid and incompetent, or they know something we don’t. That worries me mightily.

fabrexe on January 29, 2014 at 7:17 PM

There is no GOP. There is only one big government party. What there is however is party geography. If you are from San Francisco you run as a Democrat mouthing the email talking points. If you are from Mississippi you run as a Repub mouthing the email talking points. The end game is to stay in office and later collect a pension. If you think a politician’s thinking is any different than a municipal worker looking forward to retirement, nursing his vacation days, you are as dim witted as the average voter.

patrick neid on January 29, 2014 at 7:31 PM

but merely to have that lone reasonable demand dangling out there in the public eye to show voters where the Democrats’ priorities are.

LoFo public isn’t going to see anything. They won’t hear about it, and wouldn’t care or understand it even if they did. Tommy laughs at them. And they can’t play pinball for sh!t.

bofh on January 29, 2014 at 8:23 PM