- CDC sees measles spike and ‘failure to vaccinate’
- Ex-Secret Service agent seeking Md. seat: Everyone’s a ‘de facto criminal’ now
- New prosthetic hand technology lets amputees feel again
- Child killed, 4 injured in Idaho elementary school bus crash
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
Tax hike deal: Obama’s first or GOP’s last?
Precedent to be tested soon
President Obama and congressional Republicans have learned sharply different lessons from the deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” as they prepare to battle again over the next two months on a series of budget deadlines that carry risks such as crippling defense cuts and a government default.
Mr. Obama, having won the first round by forcing congressional Republicans to accept a tax increase for the first time in 20 years, said the deal set a precedent for agreements on deficit reduction and federal spending. All deals, he said, must achieve balance by requiring wealthier individuals or corporations to pay more taxes.
The agreement “enshrines … a principle into law that will remain in place as long as I am president: The deficit needs to be reduced in a way that’s balanced,” Mr. Obama said. “Everyone pays their fair share.”
But many Republicans said the agreement this week gave Mr. Obama all the tax increases he ever will get and that future deals must emphasize spending cuts. Some said they are willing to force a government shutdown to make their point in negotiations over raising the nation’s borrowing limit, which the president said he no longer will debate.
“We Republicans need to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, said on MSNBC. “It’s disruptive, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the path we’re on. We absolutely have to have this fight over the debt limit.”
Both sides will get the chance to test their principles soon. The bill approved by the House on Tuesday postpones steep, automatic spending cuts until March 1, giving the White House and Congress less than two months to agree on an alternative solution to reduce deficits.
That fiscal deadline will be followed by another on March 31, when temporary legislation to keep the government running is set to expire. Looming over both of those cutoff dates is the even more contentious question of raising the nation’s debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion.
The government technically has already reached its borrowing limit, but the Treasury Department is taking steps to postpone the day of reckoning until late February or early March. After that, the government would start defaulting on its debts, a scenario that Mr. Obama said is reckless.
“If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic — far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff,” the president said late Tuesday at the White House.
Mr. Obama said his protracted feud with Republican leaders over raising the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011 hurt the economy.
“The last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk,” Mr. Obama said. “Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can’t go down that path again.”
The president said he “will not have another debate with this Congress” over raising the debt limit, but it’s hard to see how he can avoid it if Republicans want to use the issue as leverage to achieve spending cuts.
As for the president’s argument for more revenue, Republicans said this week’s agreement ended the question of taxes.
“Now that we have permanently settled how much revenue the government is going to take out of the economy, we can move on to next steps,” said Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “We can and will pursue comprehensive tax reform this year, in 2013, and next steps. We need to address the fundamental driver of our deficits and debt, and that is out-of-control spending.”
Mr. Toomey said Republicans are “totally done” raising taxes.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on 'outdated' agencies
- Biden leaves with no concessions from China, heads next to South Korea
- Biden in Beijing: From diplomat to tourist on taxpayer dime
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
Latest Blog Entries
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Blast of winter weather heads to D.C. area
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Child killed, 4 injured in Idaho elementary school bus crash
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- New battlefront emerges in war between Republicans, tea party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama lived with Uncle Onyango Obama in the 1980s, White House admits
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!