Raising The Debt Ceiling Will Be One Of Many Battles Facing President Obama In 2011

Stuart Varney, a FOX News pro-business a-hole, was on during Megyn Kelly's show yesterday and was all giddy because Republicans in the House passed a new rule which will make it tougher to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling, House
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Stuart Varney, a FOX News pro-business a-hole, was on during Megyn Kelly's show yesterday and was all giddy because Republicans in the House passed a new rule which will make it tougher to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling,

House Republicans set to release their recommended rules changes Wednesday will change the names of several committees and repeal a rule making it more difficult to raise the debt ceiling.

They will also require that all bills be posted online three days before a vote.

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The draft rules would repeal the “Gephardt Rule” that allows the House to raise the debt limit automatically when a conference report on the budget is approved. If the rule is repealed, a separate vote on raising the debt ceiling must be held.

The Republicans will play chicken with Obama over the debt ceiling and of course the budget, which will come up, I believe, in March. How will the President handle these fights? Dan Pfeiffer says Obama will fight.

Pfeiffer described 2011 as a “year with compromise and confrontation,” and on spending issues, he at least talked the language of confrontation. “The President is willing to draw tough lines in the sand… we’re not going to let the Republicans take the country in the wrong direction. You can’t make the car go faster by taking out the engine,” he concluded, referring to spending cuts.

The President echoed some of these sentiments in his press conference yesterday, saying “I expect we’ll have a robust debate about this when we return from the holidays — a debate that will have to answer an increasingly urgent question — and that is how do we cut spending that we don’t need while making investments that we do need — investments in education, research and development, innovation, and the things that are essential to grow our economy over the long run, create jobs, and compete with every other nation in the world.” He’s made a distinction between “programs we don’t need” and programs that deserve investment, so the question becomes what programs does the President have in mind that are no longer necessary.

As I said, Varney was very pleased that Republicans passed the new rule so they can hold hostage the government, which they hope will allow them to cut as much spending as they inhumanly can from the federal government.

Varney makes the case that if Republicans don't get what they want, they will at least threaten to shut down the government, which includes Medicare, Social Security and those screwed-up wars.

Varney: There's a new sheriff in town, it's called the Republican Party that now runs the House of Representatives and they're going to introduce new rules which will make it much more difficult-time consuming to raise that debt ceiling. You know it used to be automatic. That's gone.

Kelly: And if Republicans do freeze the debt ceiling it would mean the immediate succession of more than 40% of all federal government activities including Social Security, military operations in Afghan and Iraq, Homeland security, medicare, unemployment insurance. This would threaten the safety and economic security of all Americans. Why is he wrong?

Varney: (Gleefuly) Oh, he's not wrong. What we've done here is to raise the possibility of that happening if the Republicans don't get their way on spending. It's a political contest with the Republicans and the Democrats and President Obama. Who is going to win? What's the price the Republicans will extract from raising the debt ceiling, what's the price? They want to cut spending...The economist is right, You shut the government down and that's a very serious thing.

They will try to ram down spending cuts of all kinds to justify anything that the President will need when it comes to the purse strings. And Mitch McConnell already said "just wait till next year" which means that the GOP must rule or else. Doesn't sound like Republicans want to be too bipartisan to me. Don't look for the media to be offended if the government is shut down with some extra crispy obstructionism. They'll salivate for it and hope it happens.

Will the Obama administration finally call their bluff? The debt ceiling is now just a move on the game board for Republicans. The President should make them either shut down the government if they do indeed try to get him to cut spending on anything. Protecting Social Security will be one of my main goals in 2011.

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