- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
- Detroit’s Heidelberg art project hit by 8 fires in 8 months
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
- Ronnie Biggs of ‘Great Train Robbery’ fame dies, 84
- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
MILLER: Short-term debt fix
Democrats exploit crunch-time advantage to preserve status quo
Debt-limit negotiations are heading in a direction that raises questions about the prospect of a long-term deal. The bipartisan, bicameral talks led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. seem unlikely to produce a broad agreement on the GOP demand for spending cuts and entitlement reform by the self-imposed July 1 deadline. Democrats are running out the clock to push tax hikes while avoiding spending cuts and any meaningful change to the Medicare system.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted at the possibility of a short-term debt increase that would give negotiators more time. The Kentucky Republican told reporters on Tuesday that "we are still hoping for a very large package that will impress the ratings agencies, impress foreign countries and astonish the American people - that we're actually going to come together here and take advantage of this terrific opportunity that's provided by the president's request of us to raise the debt ceiling."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Tuesday that he does not see how "multiple votes on a debt-ceiling increase could get us to where we want to go, which is we want big reforms, big spending cuts, and big changes to how this town works." The Virginia Republican thinks the pressure is a good thing, saying that if "we can't make the tough decisions now, why would we be making those tough decisions later?" Mr. Cantor "put the onus" on President Obama for the lack of movement toward a final deal, saying the chief executive was neither engaged in the talks nor "willing to do the tough stuff with us."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid picked up on the split between the House and Senate GOP leaders. The Nevada Democrat on Tuesday jabbed Mr. McConnell, saying he should talk to Mr. Cantor who "said earlier today that short-term extension of the debt limit wouldn't be good for the country."
Mr. McConnell wants any short-term increase in government borrowing authority to include an equal amount of spending cuts, matching the goal set by House Speaker John A. Boehner for a long-term deal. The House and Senate GOP also agree that tax increases are off the table. The Senate Republican leader wants hard limits on discretionary spending for fiscal 2012 and 2013 and spending caps on all spending for the mid-term, 10-year window. Finally, Mr. McConnell wants real reform of the Medicare program, which is the biggest deficit driver and is set to go bankrupt in 13 years.
The debt-limit vote represents the only leverage the GOP has to push back against Washington's big-spending ways, which have left the country with $14.3 trillion in bills to pay. If Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats continue to slow-walk negotiations in order to avoid reform, Mr. McConnell's proposal ought to be adopted only if the proposed cuts in wasteful spending are deeper than what the Democrats might see in a long-term package. Otherwise, Democrats would have no incentive not to continue dragging their feet up to the last minute, hoping that the imminent threat of a reduction in America's credit rating or default will force Republicans to cave to their spending demands.
America cannot sustain a federal government that annually doles out $1.5 trillion more than it takes in. Failure to bring about real and lasting change in the process is unacceptable. Whether through a long-term package or a series of short-term deals, the federal books must be brought closer to balance. Anything else ought to be rejected.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
- MILLER: Allen West’s exercise routine of running and calisthenics
- MILLER: Newtown anniversary used by Obama and Bloomberg for politics
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.’s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
Latest Blog Entries
- EDITORIAL: Navigating the swindle
- EDITORIAL: Payback time in Wisconsin
- EDITORIAL: Marriage by reality TV
- EDITORIAL: Mending a bad bargain
- EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer
Latest Blog Entries
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
Get Breaking Alerts
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- HURT: D.C. gets the vapors, calls sequester too much
- Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans
- Obama mocks Putin, picks gay athletes for Sochi delegation
- EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer
- We told you so: Conservatives foresaw polygamy ruling
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die