It is growing increasingly clear that Republicans are unlikely to actually cause a government shutdown in a misguided attempt to get President Obama to destroy the Affordable Care Act, so they have started to turn to the debt limit as the real fight. House Republicans plan to load a debt ceiling increase with every conservative wish they can imagine as part of their opening bid. From the Washington Examiner:
The package that House GOP leaders plan to unveil when their members return to Washington late Wednesday will be anchored by proposals to simultaneously raise the federal borrowing limit and delay for a year further implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the legislation would likely include a collection of previously introduced bills popular among House Republicans and difficult for Obama to dominate, including construction of the job-rich Keystone XL pipeline.
The debt-ceiling package, set for a House vote by week’s end, could include a variety of GOP-friendly economic proposals, including tax reform, Medicare means testing, medical liability reform, an overhaul of the federal employee retirement system, elimination of the Dodd-Frank bailout, the easing of Environmental Protection Agency rules, restrictions on federal regulators and an expansion of offshore energy production.
Republicans think going big will force President Obama to make some concessions, but I suspect this will backfire by making Obama even less likely to negotiate.
Obama has repeatedly said he is afraid he helped create a dangerous precedent with the previous debt limit fight and he intends to fix it. He is very worried that normalizing this hostage-taking tactic would undermine the basic structure of our government. It would destroy the normal balance of powers.
The fact that Republicans think holding debt ceiling hostage can give a party that only controls one half of Congress enough leverage to force their entire platform to be enacted, perfectly proves these fears are well founded.
These massive demands demonstrate why giving Republicans anything this time in exchange for a debt limit increase would be so dangerous long term.