Not surprisingly, the Republicans are going to call Obama’s bluff by pushing for a short term debt ceiling extension. From Bloomberg:
House Speaker John Boehner plans to press ahead with a shorter-term increase in the U.S. debt limit than President Barack Obama has requested, he told lawmakers today, defying a veto threat and signaling continued stalemate in the U.S. Congress as time runs short for a deal.
The comments indicated that Boehner plans to force action on his plan to provide only a temporary borrowing boost of about $1 trillion accompanied by spending cuts of at least as much, tying the remainder of the debt-ceiling increase Obama has requested to further cuts in the future. The White House says Obama would veto such a measure.
As I said at the time Obama’s veto threat of a short term debt increase has a serious credibility problem. Obama can’t legitimately take both the position that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a devastating catastrophe, and also that he would let this disaster befall America simply because the Republican offer didn’t help him enough politically for his 2012 campaign.
I’ve seen little reason why the Republicans won’t want to call Obama’s bluff on this. Only three things could likely happen:
- Most likely Obama will go back on his veto threat. In that case Republicans will look like clear winners and be in even better shape for future negotiations.
- If Obama stops it, because he doesn’t think anything really bad will happen on August 3rd, he will look like a liar who was playing Chicken Little.
- Finally, if Obama does veto it and the economy tanks, the GOP will have a strong case to make blaming Obama.
None of the three outcomes would be a political loss for the Republicans and the most likely result is a big political win for them, one that makes Obama look very weak. From a political perspective this short term extension, by far, seems like the Republicans’ best path forward, and for weeks now, the most logical action for them to take.