Both Sides Retreat From Debt Ceiling Positions

11:29 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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POTOMAC, Md. (WUSA) --- House Republicans have decided to back off their demand that each dollar increase in the debt ceiling be offset by a dollar federal spending cut, and plan to pass legislation Wednesday that instructs the government not to enforce the debt ceiling limit until May 18th. The legislation calls on the senate to pass a budget by April 15th, or have the salaries of senators put aside until it does pass a budget.

"The Republicans decided they wouldn't play chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

President Obama, who said last week he did not want only temporary solutions to the debt ceiling, issued a statement saying he would not oppose the new plan, adding the idea "introduces unnecessary complications, needlessly perpetuating uncertainty in the Nation's fiscal system."

"It means that the Republicans got some smarts. They concluded that they didn't want to fight the president right now on U.S. obligations already incurred that, rather, down the road, they want to fight on future spending so, in the short term, it provides us a little breather.

"But, I think the business community knows they're still going to have to address the question of the debt ceiling. Questions of long- term spending, deficits, entitlements, these things are still on the table so it just gives us, I think, a little breather here of a few weeks," said Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report.

"I think the Republicans finally have realized they are not in a dominant position and, in the short term, they have to defer, but I
think they think that they have found a way here to make this much more about future spending, and the president may give them some opportunities given what he said at his speech on Monday, because he seemed to be talking about bigger government, more spending, more activist government, and if the inauguration is any indication, that may give the Republicans the chance to mount a comeback," Rothenberg told WUSA-9.

"I think the president spoke remarkably little about jobs and the economy in his inauguration speech, and was much more in terms of fairness and equality so I think he is going to be very ambitious and I don't think this is a question where he thinks he can do this or that. I think the president wants to do everything so he's going to have to address the economic questions of spending and revenue, but he's also going to do issues that he thinks are important like human rights," Rothenberg added.

"We'll see when the Republicans want to actually fight him. For the moment they have kicked the can down the road. Are they going to
kick it down the road another three months or six months or after that? We really don't know but I think the president is ambitious enough that he is willing to say 'you don't want to fight me on this right now. We'll pursue other issues, other approaches and then when that comes around again we'll deal with it. We'll see what my poll numbers look like and what your standing is at that time.'"

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