Just moments after President Obama said in a televised address that Americans are “fed up with a town where compromise is a dirty word,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) flung that message back in his face.
Drawing attention to the controversial and stringent “Cut, Cap and Balance” Bill that passed the House of Representatives last week, Boehner claimed “there is no stalemate in Congress.” He pinned the blame for the debt ceiling imbroglio squarely on President Obama for having sworn to veto “Cut, Cap and Balance” even before a vote was taken.
Scorning the alternative bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced to the Senate, Boehner said the House would this week consider another alternative approach: a plan to which Boehner has pinned his name. “If the President signs [the new plan]” Boehner said, “the crisis atmosphere he has created will simply disappear.”
Although Boehner dismissed the Senate bill as riddled with “phony accounting and Washington gimmicks,” the truth is the plan bears a remarkable similarity to his. At this stage both sides pretty much agree on the need to make significant debt reductions in order to preserve America’s international credit ratings. The Democrats even appear to have caved on wanting to raise tax revenues, seeking to make the savings instead via methods such as winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, Boehner’s bill demands the debt ceiling be raised in two tranches, with the second one dependent on President Obama and the Democrats agreeing to further spending cuts in early 2012. In his own address, the President said this would create economic uncertainty that would imperil the recovery. Boehner, however, said this amounted to demanding “a blank check.”