Skip to comments.House GOP Seeing Sequester, Not Debt Ceiling, As Fight to Pick
Posted on 01/18/2013 8:31:46 AM PST by SeekAndFind
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Republicans at a closed-door retreat in Williamsburg were weighing a short-term increase in the countrys borrowing limit, giving all sides time to work on a broader fiscal plan in March that would include substantial spending cuts.
Sometimes youve got to lay down a sacrifice bunt, said Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida about the debt ceiling increase. He said there was a realization among his House GOP colleagues that they had to be ready to deal when negotiations began.
That strategy would represent an about-face for a Republican conference that has now repeatedly denied Speaker John Boehner the support he needed to strike compromises with Democrats.
But a debt-limit fight is one many leading Republicans including former Speaker Newt Gingrich were loudly warning against. Gingrich and others have argued that Republicans should reserve what capital they have for negotiations they stand a greater chance of winning, including on legislation that funds the government, reduces spending, and unwinds the coming across-the-board cut known as sequestration.
And it appears clear that even some of the more conservative House Republicans are starting to agree.
We have no interest in shutting down government. We dont have to, said Republican Rep. John Fleming. The sequestration goes into effect by law and I dont think the president is going to want the kind of cuts any more than we do. So were on equal footing now. Ryan, offering reporters a general rundown on the private talks on spending and budget issues that Speaker John Boehner and rank-and-file House Republicans were holding in a nearby building here, provided no details about the debt-limit offer they were considering. He said it was one of a number of options for proceeding on the various fiscal issues ahead that were being discussed.
The country hit the legal limit on its borrowing on Dec. 31, and Treasury is using extraordinary measures to manage the governments payments. But the United States is expected to exhaust its ability to use those accounting steps as early as Feb. 15 or as late as March 1. A default could lead to a downgrade of the countrys credit rating and throw financial markets worldwide into chaos.
While some Republicans have wanted to use the debt-limit fight to force spending cuts, Obama is taking a tough line, accusing the GOP of putting the full faith and credit of the United States on the line and saying he will not negotiate over the issue.
Congress also must deal with the sequestration cuts in March and another measure to keep government funded when the current stopgap spending bill expires March 27.
Our goal is to make sure our members understand all the deadlines that are coming, all the consequences of those deadlines that are coming, in order so that we can make a better informed decision on how to move and how to proceed, Ryan said.
And as part of that, he said, We also have to recognize the realities of the divided government we have the divided government moment we have.
For House Republicans, the spending and budget issue is the most important fight to have, Ryan said. We think that the worst thing for the economy is for this Congress and this administration to do nothing to get debt and deficits under control.
Don't we provide these clowns office space in washington?
It is so painful to see these idiots behave like fools. No leader among them, and the conservatives are either leaderless as well or are kept quiet. The hell with decorum, actively resist the current leadership, which will after all side with the rats anyway.
Republicans are done. They appeal to no one, and the Obama media is busily making Republicans toxic in the mind of the public.
It’s going to be a long, cold winter in the communist state of America.
Ed Morrissey of Hotair observes:
There are three potential inflection points in the next two months on spending. The first is the debt ceiling, which is poor ground for the GOP, as the spending Congress has already authorized requires Treasury to borrow funds to comply.
Denying a raise in the ceiling to at least the amount necessary for authorized spending amounts to a bad-faith effort to reopen the previous agreement, and it will be perceived that way especially as the media hyperventilates about default.
That leaves the sequester in late February and the expiration of the continuing resolution on March 27th, the government-shutdown option. Republicans stand on the best ground on that point for demanding real spending cuts in the final half of the FY2013 budget and the new FY2014 budget. However, if Republicans attempt to evade the sequester which splits $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years evenly between defense and domestic spending they will undermine their case for a government-shutdown threat in March. Those cuts are painful on both sides, butany significant cuts are going to be painful; if they werent, they would have already taken place.
This is why the Republicans will have better ground after the tax and debt-ceiling deadlines pass by.
Inaction in both of those cases favored Democrats (big tax hikes and a default scenario they could blame on Republican intransigence). In contrast, inaction on the last two cliffs of the sequester favor the GOP real spending cuts and a standoff on the real issue of spending. And in fact, House Republicans can pass a final FY2013 budget using normal order well before March 27th and simply state that they will not negotiate with the Senate except through a conference committee, demanding a normal-order budget from Harry Reid. If he refuses, then its Democratic inaction that will produce the government shutdown.
The sports metaphor is interesting but I think 'taking a dive' would be a better one
Republicans are outnumbered in Washington power. They don’t hold the senate and they don’t hold the executive branch.
They have to look for the best ground on which to fight.
I think, given the circumstances they are in, this is a big step in the right direction.
They (Dems and Republicans) have been on an "equal footing" for years IMO; we need a real Conservative party...
The fact that they dont want to use debt limit as a weapon (hostage) is no surprise (to me anyway as I been predicting it) given their past record of non-success using it, but I am very skeptical that sequestration gives them much leverage over O to get concessions,
Because many Rs especially Ryan spent much of last year crying wolf about how bad it would be, yet Obama rarely talked about it.
So unless they are willing to ‘shoot the hostage’ meaning letting those cuts go into effect, which requires no negotiation, then they come to the table with a water pistol, again.
The easiest thing is to do is let the cuts go and ask O if he needs something. O will probably want them delayed for about 5 years.
RE: They (Dems and Republicans) have been on an “equal footing” for years IMO; we need a real Conservative party..
You mean you really want to see the government shut down?
you approved the spending already...
the spending cuts are approved already...
HOW ABOUT PASSING A BUDGET, THEN ANNOUNCING THERE WILL BE NO CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS..... PERIOD..
Is it not too much to ask for you to do your jobs, then dump it on the senate?????
Grow a damn spine for once in you little snivelling lives
The GOP House has been triangulated into a no win corner. Being pragmatic on when and where to fight the spending battle may be their only option if they want to live to fight another day. Yet, the outcome over the tax rate part of the fiscal cliff battle last month shows a more likely path for the spending battle to end: Liberal and moderate GOP members joining force with Pelosi's Rat caucus to give the President most of what he wants. Me thinks the Rino's rationale to be one of it is better to compromise for the perceived good of the nation and not be portrayed as mean spiritied than to crash and burn over principal. Fiscal conservatives and America are screwed and Pelosi become the de-facto Speaker of the House while Congress becomes a rubber stamp for the Ascended 0ne. Bill Clinton has taught Obama well.
The government workers in part of the Air Force Research Lab just got their briefing on the impending sequestration. There will be furloughs all through the Air Force of 30 days to happen between the beginning of June and the end of September. The lab is the people who develop ways of killing enemies more efficiently. (The military will not be effected)
The "equal footing" fragment refers to the sentence to which it is attached I assume; I want the kind of cuts (actually more) implied by sequestration.
You've been laying down for almost 5 years now, dick.
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