It’s time to start engaging Congress, Mr. President
In December 2010, it was the two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. In the spring of 2011, a government shutdown was narrowly averted by a midnight vote on Capitol Hill. The following summer brought us to the brink once more when the president walked away from the negotiating table on a deal surrounding the debt ceiling. And, of course, Congress rang in the new year with a last-minute escape from the largest tax increase in American history.
In every instance, the looming deadline for action has been obvious. And in every instance, the White House has purposefully slow-walked the process in a shameless attempt to score cheap political points.
The result has been a series of manufactured crises that have brought the country to the brink of economic catastrophe. This is a terrible, acrimonious way of doing business. It diminishes global confidence in the United States, and it is a disservice to the American people. Simply put, this must change.
Over the next few months, we will reach deadlines related to the debt ceiling, the sequester and the continuing appropriations resolution that has funded federal operations since October. If history is any guide, President Obama won’t see fit to engage congressional Republicans until the 11th hour. In fact, he has already signaled an unwillingness to negotiate over the debt ceiling. This is unacceptable. The president should immediately put forward a plan that addresses these deadlines, and he should launch serious, transparent budget negotiations.