To borrow from Democrats' well-worn demagoguery handbook, why is President Obama holding the entire American economy hostage to his own intransigent, ideological opposition to a balanced budget amendment?
The White House on Monday warned President Obama will veto GOP legislation to “Cut, Cap and Balance” spending and the budget. In a statement of administration policy, the White House Office of Management and Budget labeled the GOP bill as an “empty political statement.”
The House Rules Committee is expected to take up the measure on Monday, and it is likely to receive a floor vote on Tuesday. The measure would cut spending in Fiscal Year 2012 by $111 billion, cap future spending at 19.9 percent of gross domestic product and would allow for the debt ceiling to be increased if a balanced budget amendment is approved by Congress and sent to the states.
At his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed "Cut, Cap & Balance" as a scary regime of "Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle." Ooh, burn! I wonder how long it took him to come up with, and rehearse, that soundbyte. Obviously lost on Mr. Carney is the irony of who the real "ducking and dodging" culprits are in this debate. As I have written more times than I'd care to count, Republicans have passed a budget in the House. Senate Democrats killed it. The GOP introduced two additional budgets in the Senate (via Senators Toomey and Paul, to be precise), both of which were defeated by Democrats. Now Sen. Tom Coburn, formerly of the 'Gang of Six,' has introduced yet another option for Democrats to block. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats haven't introduced their own plan in 810 days -- and President Obama's failed 2012 budget accumulated almost $10 Trillion in new debt over the next decade. It has been abandoned by the White House and Democrats on the Hill.
On the debt negotiations, specifically, Democrats have offered nothing but vague promises that "everything is on the table." Except, it seems, for Obamacare, major entitlement reforms, not raising taxes, and now, a Balanced Budget Amendment -- this, in spite of 20 Senate Democrats' on-the-record support for such a measure in the past. The BBA is a non-starter, the president says. (Then again, body-snatcher Obama could change his mind tomorrow and announce his "consistent support" for a BBA -- but I'm not holding my breath). The president claims he's willing to buck his party and make tough choices. When asked what he means by "tough choices," he replied, "I'm not going to get into specifics." Would that be a duck or a dodge, Mr. Carney?
The White House has (correctly) warned that a default or credit downgrade would deal a crippling blow to our economy. Republicans have offered a straightfoward solution that would rein in and cap spending, balance the budget, and raise the debt ceiling. The president has dismissed it out of hand, vowing a veto. It seems he would prefer default, and its...er, dismantling effects, to supporting a plan that conflicts with his ideology of endless spending.
UPDATE - Oh, look: Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will stay in session -- weekends included -- until the issue is resolved and the debt ceiling is raised. Good thing he didn't institute the same policy to force his chamber to obey the law and construct a budget. If he had, Senators wouldn't have had a single day off since early 2009.