I have responsibilities at this point not just to the current generation but to future generations, and we’re not going to set up a situation where the full faith and credit of the United States is put on the table every year or every year and a half, and we go through some sort of terrifying financial brinksmanship because of some ideological arguments that people are having about some particular issue of the day. We’re not going to do that.This isn't a new argument from President Obama, but with the deadline to raise the debt ceiling approaching quickly and House Republicans adding to their list of demands for what they want in exchange for raising it, it's good to hear him say that he will not cave to their demands—and he's not afraid to call those demands exactly what they are: Extortion.
You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a President or a governing party, and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and have nothing to do with the debt.Obama said that he would negotiate over the budget, as is the norm throughout American history, but said said that negotiating over the debt limit would reward political tactics that do nothing but "promise apocalypse every three months." Obama also conceded that negotiating over the debt limit in 2011 was an enormous mistake:
What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to set policy. It’s irresponsible. The last time we did this in 2011, we had negative growth at a time when the recovery was just trying to take off. And it would fundamentally change how American government functions.Republicans who think the debt limit is a source of leverage are counting on President Obama to flip-flop back to his 2011 strategy. That would be more plausible if what happened in 2011 hadn't turned out to be such a disaster and, more importantly, if President Obama didn't realize it was a disaster—but clearly, he does.
Obviously, we won't know until the ink is dry on the debt limit increase whether President Obama follows through on his commitment to reject GOP hostage-taking on the debt limit, but if Republicans haven't started contemplating what happens if their strategy fails, they had better get started wrapping their minds around it, because all indications are that's exactly what's going to happen.