In the end, President Barack Obama got exactly what he said he wanted — a debt-limit increase, an extension of the federal government’s funding, and no overly binding strings attached — and he did it by keeping faith with his unusual watchwords: No negotiation. Experience had taught Republicans, and even Democrats, that he would wilt. Continue Reading Obama had agreed to austere spending limitations and big tax cuts in past budget showdowns. And Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert joked earlier this month that the president needed a transplant of vital pieces of male anatomy to take a strong stand on the debt limit and federal spending this time around. But Obama stood his ground, beating back GOP efforts to extract concessions such as major changes to his health care law. Over the summer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Obama, and the two men agreed to split up responsibility for the fall talks, according to senior administration officials. Reid would negotiate with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on federal funding and Obama would handle the debt limit. The president reassured Reid that he meant what he had said about not negotiating back on New Year’s Day when the previous debt ceiling deal was reached. “While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” Obama said at the time. The intransigence speaks to a lesson Obama learned first during a similar fight in the summer of 2011, and again at the end of 2012, that negotiating with House Republicans who saw the creditworthiness and economic health of the nation as leverage points is a no-win proposition. Even if he could strike a deal with House Speaker John Boehner, there was never a guarantee that Boehner could pass it on the House floor, which meant endless rounds of goalpost-moving.
Posted on: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 12:31:52 +0000
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