House Speaker John Boehner at a October 10, 2013 press conference

So House Republicans have unveiled their debt limit offer, and despite earlier reports that they were serious about avoiding default, their proposal suggests the exact opposite.

At a press conference following a meeting of all House Republicans, the House GOP leadership team proposed raising the debt limit for six weeks in exchange for President Obama negotiating with them over their list of demands for ending the government shutdown.

According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Republicans would follow through on their plan "in exchange for a real commitment by this president and the Senate Majority leader to sit down." House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said "we're looking for as structure that puts us on a path to get a budget and take care of this debt."

The GOP plan is pretty much dead on arrival. Even before they unveiled it, the White House made it clear that negotiations would only be possible once Republicans agreed to remove the threat not just of default but also government shutdown:

WH: "Once Republicans...act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown, [Obama] will be willing" to negotiate
President Obama would almost certainly sign legislation suspending the debt limit for six weeks if it didn't have strings attached, but that's not what Republicans are proposing. Their central demand—that President Obama negotiate while they have a gun pointed at the country's head—is the same as it was yesterday.

That's not acceptable, but even if it were, it's worth remembering that we've heard proposals like this from Republicans before, and time after time, Boehner hasn't even been able to find the votes to get his proposals through the House.

If Boehner wants to avoid default, there's an easy way to do it: Raise the debt limit. But as long as he continues to demand a ransom, he's not trying to avoid default: He's threatening it.

9:19 AM PT: This really is important:

IMPT: the GOP plan also forbids extraordinary measures on the debt ceiling.
Remember the last time around, GOP suspended debt limit until mid-May, but extraordinary measures allowed us to avoid default for about 5 months. By legally baring Treasury from avoiding default, GOP is actually proposing to weaponize the debt limit such that it is even more dangerous than it is now. It's reckless and would make things worse than they are now. Even without any other strings attached, accepting a debt limit increase that bars extraordinary measures should be a nonstarter.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 09:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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