GOP Holds Economy Hostage with Laundry List of Demands
Just yesterday, nixing Obamacare appeared to be the lone, if losing, issue on the Republican agenda. But now House GOPers are literally going for broke by demanding not only the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, but the enactment of what essentially amounts to the entire Mitt Romney agenda that voters shot down in the last presidential election.
In exchange for a one-year increase of the debt limit, Republicans want Obamacare to be postponed by one year, increased military spending, expanded offshore drilling, the go-ahead for the environmentally disastrous Keystone pipeline and tax reform, Paul-Ryan style.
They want a policy to reduce regulations on energy that “Includes pretty much every jobs bill we have passed this year and last Congress.”
Although the military would receive more money, domestic programs would suffer further cuts, and Obamacare’s medical malpractice reform would be repealed along with other key portions of the bill.
President Obama and other Democratic leaders have already expressed unwillingness to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling; however, House Speaker John Boehner is scrambling to secure GOP votes, and must lure conservative extremists with attractive concessions despite the unlikelihood of Democratic compliance.
Playing down the major implications of the proposal, Boehner said “On the debt limit, we're going to introduce a plan that ties important spending cuts and pro-growth reforms to a debt limit increase. Now the president says, 'I'm not going to negotiate.' Well, I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way."
If Washington fails to raise the debt ceiling, the Treasury will be unable to pay its bills, which include Social Security benefits, IRS refunds and wages for government workers. The Treasury could run out of money in late October, by current estimates.
Republicans have suggested that without a debt-ceiling increase, the Treasury would be forced to prioritize.
But the Treasure Secretary Jack Lew lashed back at that assumption, saying, "Any plan to prioritize some payments over others is simply default by another name.”