Obama: Debt Ceiling Negotiations An 'Assault' On US 'Constitutional Structure'

President Obama Says He won't Negotiate on Debt Ceiling and calls the GOP's use of it an Assault on US ‘Constitutional Structure’

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It's just another day and just another debt ceiling debate nightmare for America in Washington, DC.

The GOP's hostage-taking of the debt ceiling is inhumane on so many levels, but that's what the modern GOP has turned into. President Obama has said before that he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling and he reiterated it again today on ABC. The debt ceiling had never been used as a bargaining chip by any political party in Congress until Obama became president and the tea party materialized. I do hope he sticks by his guns on this one.

Stephanopulos: Speaker Boehner says, "Listen, you just have to sit down and negotiate with me." Are you still absolutely refusing to talk, in any way, shape or form?

Obama: What I haven't been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling.

That's never happened before. And when it comes to budgets, we've never had the situation in which a party said that-- you know, "Unless we get our way 100%, then-- we're gonna let the United States default." That's never happened, George. That didn't happen-- when you were working here in the White House.

...if we set-- if we continue to set a precedent in which a president, any president, a Republican president-- a Democratic president-- where the opposing party controls the House of Representatives--if that president is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills-- the other party can simply sit there and say, "Well, we're not gonna put-- pay the bills unless you give us what our-- what we want," that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely.

These are strong words from the president so let's see what happens. I have no doubt that the media will frame this new round of dummy debt ceiling proceedings as the president unwilling to negotiation with the GOP. The wingnut media will frame it as if it's the only way for them to get out-of-control government spending under their control even though Obama has slashed government spending dramatically. As we already know, 'austerity' has been discredited completely along with Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff so why the media hasn't been lambasting the GOP over their 'cutting spending frenzy' is a mystery to me.

The idea that Republicans will use the debt ceiling to try and undermine Obamacare is ludicrous and dangerous. It's the law of the land and needs to be implemented immediately and if Obama does negotiate on this then he really is as weak as FOX News has been trying to portray him as. (h/t Heather for the video)

Here's the full transcript of the segment I posted.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But the stalemate may lead to something-- even more disastrous. It's deja vu all over again here in Washington. You're couple weeks away from a government shutdown, few weeks away from a possible default one more time.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yeah.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Boehner says, "Listen, you just have to sit down and negotiate with me." Are you still absolutely refusing to talk, in any way, shape or form?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No. No, no. Keep in mind-- my position here, George. 'Cause I've-- I have been through this a couple times (CHUCKLE) with Speaker Boehner. What I'm-- what I've said is, with respect to the budget, we've presented our budget. And now it's the job of Congress to come up with a budget that keeps our long-term trends down of-- or-- or-- or our-- our current trends of-- of reducing the deficit moving forward, but also allows us to invest in the things that we need to grow. And I've told him, and I've told the country, what I think we need to do. I'm happy to have a conversation with him about how we can deal with the so-called sequester, which is making across-the-board cuts on stuff that we shouldn't be cutting, while continuing tax breaks, for example, for companies that are not helping to grow the economy. There are ways of doing this, it's just that they haven't been willing to negotiate in a serious way on that. What I haven't been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But presidents have done--

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: --that in the past, and you've done it in the past.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, no, no, no. George, if you take a look, what has never happened in the past was the notion that-- in exchange for-- fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we-- are wiping away-- let's say major legislation, like the Health Care Bill. That-- that--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not open to any changes in--

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: --Obamacare?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That's never happened before. And when it comes to budgets, we've never had the situation in which a party said that-- you know, "Unless we get our way 100%, then-- we're gonna let the United States default." That's never happened, George. That didn't happen-- when you were workin' here in the White House.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But there were reforms added to the debt limit legislation.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The-- George-- I think it's fair to say-- you-- that never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they're talking about. It's never happened before. There've been negotiations around the corners, because nobody had ever presumed that you'd actually threaten the United States to default.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But how does this end, then? You know-- they say they need changes in Obamacare. You say you're not gonna negotiate. Are you just betting they're gonna cave?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, no-- George, here's the problem. The-- the-- if we set-- if we continue to set a precedent in which a president, any president, a Republican president-- a Democratic president-- where the opposing party controls the House of Representatives-- if-- if that president is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills-- the other party can simply sit there and say, "Well, we're not gonna put-- pay the bills unless you give us what our-- what we want," that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not gonna negotiate-- are you--

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So-- so-- so we can't negotiate around the debt ceiling. If Mr. Boehner has ideas about-- how we can grow this economy, strengthen the middle class, put people back to work in a serious way-- of course we're happy to-- you know, support the negotiations that are takin' place between-- the House and the Senate. But my orientation here is real simple. I wanna make sure that we've got an economy in which Main Street's winning. And what that requires is that we're investing in education, early childhood, that we're investing in transportation, that we're investing in the things that we need to grow. If we're gonna re-- if we're gonna continue to reduce the deficit, and I think a lot of people aren't aware of the fact that the deficit's been cut in half since I came into office, it's continuing on a trend line of further reductions.

If we wanna do more deficit reduction, I've already-- put out a budget that says, "Let's do it." I'm willing to reform entitlements. I'm willing to-- you know, cut out additional waste that may be there. And I'm spending time, even without pressure from Congress, trying to figure out how we can cut out waste in the system. But-- I-- what I also think we should be doing is eliminating-- corporate tax breaks that nobody can defend-- but keep on-- reappearing each year in the budget. If we are serious about it, there's no reason-- that we can't do it, and do right by--

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