Debt ceiling dynamics: President Obama now irrelevant

It now seems to me the President will sign anything Congress sends to him for final approval.

So the question is whether the Senate and House can agree to anything they can both pass and send to the President.

And there is no point in further discussion with the President.

It’s all up to the Congress and it’s not looking promising.

Especially when deep down most probably think:

“It’s a good thing for the govt, like a drug addict, to get it’s credit card taken away and go cold turkey and be forced to limit spending to current tax revenue.

Yes, bad things might happen- stocks might go down, interest rates and unemployment might go up, and tens of thousands of businesses fail as GDP falls.

But with govt out of the way, the pain will pass and the private sector then flourish as never before.
Best to take that medicine now, suffer that pain now, and get by it to the promised land.

Not getting the debt under control will mean far worse consequences for all of us and especially for our posterity.”

So it’s the entire mindset that’s working against getting any bill to the President’s desk.

The last time I felt this was was during the Cuban Missile crisis.
Fortunately, back then, Russia blinked.


July 22 (Bloomberg) — House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner broke off talks with President Barack Obama on Friday and said he will begin negotiations with Senate leaders aimed at meeting an Aug. 2 deadline to avert an unprecedented U.S. debt default.

In a dramatic turn of events with the deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling just 11 days away, a stern-faced Obama expressed frustration at the Republican leader’s move, saying it was “hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal.”

In a letter to congressional colleagues, Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, said talks with the Democratic president had become futile, citing Obama’s demand to raise taxes.

Putting the onus on Obama, Boehner said: “The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.

In a press conference, Boehner said the White House “moved the goal posts” at the last minute. He said, “Dealing with the White House is like dealing with a bowl of Jell-O.”

“We put plan after plan on the table,” Boehner said, adding that the president never brought a plan to the table.

Still, he said he’ll attend the Saturday morning meeting President Obama called of all the congressional leaders, adding that he doesn’t believe the relationship with the White House is permanently damaged.

“I’m confident that Congress can act next week,” he told reporters.

Lawmakers will need to have a deal in place by early next week in order to make sure it can be passed by both houses by the Aug. 2 deadline.

President Obama held a press conference to announce the news. He said Boehner’s decision came after the president offered to cut discretionary spending by $1 trillion. He said he thought he was offering an “extraordinarily fair” deal.

The president said the talks broke down over tax revenue but that both sides had been only about $10 billion apart on spending cuts.

Obama told reporters “there does not seem to be a capacity” for Republicans to agree to a debt limit deal.

Obama said he has summoned Boehner and other congressional leaders—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—to the White House for a meeting at 11 a.m. ET Saturday.

“We have run out of time and they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default and ask them to do the tough thing but the right thing,” the president said.

Both the president and Rep. Boehner said they were confident that the U.S. wouldn’t default on its obligations.

“We have never defaulted on our debt and we’re not about to do it now,” Obama said.

Obama said he was confident the $14.3 trillion limit on U.S. borrowing would be raised by the Aug. 2 deadline.

Mohamed El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co., which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets, told Reuters: “If not reversed within the next few days through crisis negotiations, this breakdown will be highly detrimental to the already-fragile health of both the US and global economies.”

Obama has faced increasingly vocal complaints from his own Democrats on a deal-in-the-making that could mean painful curbs in popular health and retirement programs but no immediate increase in taxes.

“I’ve never seen frustration higher,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said after a week of sometimes chaotic efforts to sort through conflicting options and stave off a potentially devastating default on the nation’s financial obligations.

Republicans and many Democrats are refusing to raise the debt limit unless it is accompanied by steep spending cuts to tackle rising budget deficits.

Attention now turns to the Senate, where negotiations are likely to resume on a convoluted plan put forth by Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell that intended as a fallback option if all else failed.

An unprecedented national default could push the United States back into recession and trigger global financial chaos.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met Friday with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President William Dudley to talk about the implications for the U.S. economy if Congress failed to raise the debt.

They remained confident Congress would act in time, they said in a joint statement.

The hope in Washington is that a wide-ranging, 10-year package of deficit cuts being worked out will be enough to save America’s triple-A credit rating.

Rating agencies have threatened a U.S. bond downgrade without a comprehensive deficit-cutting deal.

Seeking to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers, Obama said the consequences if they failed to act on the debt limit would include higher interest rates and greater reluctance by businesses to hire and invest.

“If we don’t solve it, every American will suffer,” he said.

Casting himself as a centrist in the bitter debate, Obama is trying to appeal to moderate independent voters he needs to win re-election in 2012.

Still the two sides remain far apart on the main issues.

Obama and Boehner took discussions on a so-called “grand bargain” behind closed doors this week.

Talks have whipsawed and stalled over raising tax revenue, which Democrats insist must be a part of any spending cut deal while Republicans reject tax increases.

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