Sunday, October 06, 2013

Boehner reneges on debt ceiling promise on ABC; Obama reported by AP to be thinking about 14th Amendment workaround; Treasury's Lew on NBC; Cruz on CNN keeps hard line

John Boehner appeared to renege on his “promise” last week not to let the nation go into default later this month or early November by stopping an up-down vote on the debt ceiling.  In a sensational interview Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos Boehner said that on up-down (anti-Hastert) vote in the House on even a “clean CR” or the debt ceiling cannot pass at this time.




Boehner said that presidents have negotiated over the debt ceiling many times, including Reagan, the first Bush, and Clinton.  The concept in itself should not be controversial. 

Boehner said that under no conditions can he put a clean vote on the debt ceiling up without some concessions from the Democrats.  Apparently there need to be some concessions on both Obamacare and entitlements. 
   
Stephanopoulos pressed him on the consequences of default, as I would have.  Boehner said, “He has my phone number.

Will Stephanopoulos pose the same question to Obama, about what prior presidents have done?  Obama will say this is different, because the Tea Party is blocking legislation already passed, albeit under “reconciliation” (another government test term).
   
But in an interview with the Associated Press, apparently published Saturday, the president did not rule out the possibility of using the 14th Amendment to borrow money short term should Congress fail to raise the ceiling and should the Treasury actually run short, particularly on bond interest, of its obligations.  The link is here

This device could still rattle investors, as noted before, who could not be sure of the legality of the debt.  It could lead to impeachment of the president, but the Senate would not agree to any conviction.
  
NBC’s “Meet the Press” interviewed Treasury Secretary Lew on the possibility of a default, with a news story here. Wall Street is said to be preparing information systems to be able to trade defaulted securities.  
  
On CNN, Senator Ted Cruz said that raising the debt ceiling should indeed be linked to reforms in “Obamacare” and of (other) “entitlements”. The link is here. Despite some dire rhetoric by the media today, it sounds as if Cruz would no longer insist on repealing Obamacare, just weakening it.  

 But Cruz, in the Senate, doesn’t have as much leverage in the crisis as other politicians.
    

I get the feeling that the politicians are letting the media negotiate this crisis, as the politicians will talk to major news show hosts (even to bloggers, possibly even to me), because doing so does not amount to giving in to “extortion”.   The politicians need to talk to each other.  George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley, and Wolf Blitzer (especially) were not elected to office – and a lot of “us” could never stomach the idea of partisanship.  I have a feeling none of us would do stuff like this if we were in office.  OK, we wouldn’t get re-elected.  Schwarzenegger didn’t even want to.  Think about it, Mark Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur, but never a “political entrepreneur.”  What kinds of people really want to run for office now?  

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