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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (C) pauses between answers to questions during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 10, 2013. U.S. House of Representatives Republicans are still weighing a short-term debt-limit increase, pos
House Republicans are continuing the charade of acting as though they can exact some ransom for raising the debt ceiling. So far, they've rejected using Obamacare (that had to sting a little) and Keystone XL because they just can't get to 218 Republican votes—the necessary number to pass a bill without Democrats. That still hasn't really changed, but that doesn't mean House Speaker John Boehner isn't going to keep trying, even as he keeps trying to assure the world that they'll cave in the end and pass a clean debt ceiling hike.
"I think we're still looking for the pieces to this puzzle," he said. "But listen, we do not want to default on our debt and we're not going to default on our debt. We're in discussions with members on how to move ahead, we've got time to do this. No decisions have been made."
So the idea they're now kicking around is to do something Democrats also want done, repealing the small cut to military pensions as part of the budget deal Congress just completed. Even though this is something that Democrats want, Boehner seems to think this will jam up Senate Democrats. Since Senate Democrats and President Obama have insisted all along on a clean bill, he might be thinking attaching a popular amendment would make life difficult for Democrats politically. The problem in that thinking is that to follow it all the way through, he'd have to insist that the House will only act to reverse these unpopular cost of living cuts in conjunction with the debt ceiling. That's just an invitation to the Senate to strip this out of the House bill, pass a clean debt ceiling hike and force the House to also pass a clean bill—which Boehner has admitted they'll do—and then bring up the cost of living adjustment in another bill.

Boehner's also got a problem with this approach in that the whole point of fighting the debt ceiling hike is to make a point on debt and deficits. But reversing this cost of living cut will increase the deficit by about $5.6 billion over 10 years. So he'll have to find somewhere else to make those cuts, since he's always argued that a debt ceiling increase would have to be offset by spending cuts.

In other words, he's still floundering, and this time doesn't even seem to by trying to pretend otherwise.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (25+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:14:07 AM PST

  •  The House GOP Motto for 2014 (9+ / 0-)

    "A Failure to Plan and a Plan for Failure"

    Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:20:08 AM PST

    •  Boehner is fool... (0+ / 0-)

      if you are not going to default and you know Obama is not going to play-ball, why keep this in the headlines?
      -Everyday that the nation "worries" whether the GOP won't crash the economy is not a good day for them.
      -Folks are just tired of this, why can't they get it?
      -Didn't they say they want to make 2014 an Obamacare- scare yr?

      "I think we're still looking for the pieces to this puzzle," he said. "But listen, we do not want to default on our debt and we're not going to default on our debt. We're in discussions with members on how to move ahead, we've got time to do this. No decisions have been made."

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:40:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because he has to play to wing-nuttia. (0+ / 0-)

        There are a number of members of the Tea Party Caucus that will no vote for a clean debt increase. They will not vote for one at all unless it exacts significant social spending cuts from the Democrats. There are a number of Republicans that want to look that way too, to please their primary voters, but will fold at the last minute to avoid default, but they won't fold before then. Boehner could pass a clean resolution now with the Democrats and the relatively sane Republicans, but that will piss of the Tea Party, and the rest of wingnuttia. So he has all the necessary incentive to keep the theater up as long as he safely can.

        Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

        by rhonan on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:02:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Kidnappers in search of a ransom demand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, Halfton81

      Sometimes kidnappers have a hard time picking a hostage, but they usually know what ransom they want. These guys are the Keystone Kidnappers: "Tell us what we want, or we'll shoot!"

  •  Desperation: the Eighth stage of 2014 Grief /nt (7+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:22:43 AM PST

  •  The "floundering" has been so public, it's suspect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I suppose that after his "are you kidding me??!!" press conference, Boehner has accepted that any semblance of dignity is beyond his grasp as House Leader, and he's gotten comfortable in his Tea Party Whipping Boy role.  But he's made such a spectacle out of his desire to extort something from the President, using the debt limit as a gun to the head of the Administration, if he can only figure out what to demand, I suspect there's something else going on here.

    John Boehner is a more canny politico than to unwittingly walk into this very public humiliation of his inability to get his fellow hostage-takers to settle on a ransom.  It's almost like he's driving a point home to someone.  It's like he's underscoring the stupidity of last fall's government shutdown tactic by replaying it in slo-mo with the debt limit.  But who is he addressing, really?

    Could it be that he's trying to take the House back from Jim DeMint and the Koch brothers by further stigmatizing the Tea Party caucus with another failed stratagem?

    •  Nope, he's just trying to keep Hastet rule, majori (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ty of Thugs must support it or they turn into Gay-bunnies or something...

      But he can't get a majority of his caucus to vote a clean CR or any particular ransom, other than Obama paint himself white and dance nake on the WH lawn before he appoints Some Thug POTUS - hey, SCOTUS did it! - and resigned of course.

      It really is that simple: Thugs are utterly dysfunctional and the only thing they can agree on is Obama Derangement Psychosis.

      •  Less Republicans, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        more gay bunnies.

        I could live with that.

        The most violent element in society is ignorance.

        by Mr MadAsHell on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 02:16:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree the Teabaggers aren't interested in (0+ / 0-)


        Bold, symbolic gestures are about all they can unite behind, and so far the funders of the far right (DeMint's cohort, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Koch galaxy of PACs) have stood with their Congressional bomb throwers.  But I believe that John Boehner does want to affect policy, does want to govern in some manner.  To accomplish that, he's got to get the money to send a message to his newbie Tea Party faction to get in line and stop the stupid shit.

  •  The Grand Old (7+ / 0-)

    Make Shit Up As We Go Along Party

    “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” ― Winston Churchill

    by paulitics on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:03:23 PM PST

  •  and now he's closed down discussion on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, eztempo, GSHscott

    immigration reform, citing a "distrust of Obama."  I'm sick of the SOB's disrespecting our president, and our first black president, at that.  Is that what this is all about because I've never seen such disrespect, EVER!  God I'm pissed at this asshole and all his little assholes.  These guys have no place in making  public policy or representing America in any capacity.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:17:59 PM PST

  •  Sound like Boehner's pulling the Stand Your Ground (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    offense: "I don't want to kill you, I'm not gonna shoot you, but if you don't stop not stopping then I'm not gonna not pull the trigger. So there!"

    Fox News: Redistribution Of Ignorance.

    by here4tehbeer on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:19:08 PM PST

  •  F#cking GOP can't even agree on the time of day. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, GleninCA
  •  Boehner must be the worst poker player ever. (2+ / 0-)

    He showed everyone his hand, which doesn't even have a pair of deuces, and he's still trying to bluff.

    Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

    by shoeless on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:25:22 PM PST

  •  IMPEACH (0+ / 0-)

    I wish we could impeach 99% of the House republicans and a few of the dems there also.

    We can it is called voting.

  •  Seems to me that Harry Reid's (0+ / 0-)

    response should be on the order of "Please, don't throw me in that there briar patch, Mr. Speaker". Nothing could cement GOP support for it more, other than the President coming out against it.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:33:03 PM PST

  •  Boy they are even more stupid than I thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, eztempo

    So let's see, we must not raise the debt ceiling without addressing the debt. So let's propose legislation to raise the debt.

  •  Lets throw him an anchor! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ignore reality. Create your own.

    by sworddance on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:49:14 PM PST

  •  Couldn't Senate Ds just split bills, pass both cle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    an CR and Vetsfix and send them back to the House at same time?  Then what does Bonehead think he can do to score political points?  Refuse to vote on both unless there both just 1 bill?  Yeah, voters will understand that.


  •  This is hilarious (0+ / 0-)

    If we could get Boehner to pull this "stunt" more often, we'd get everything we want.

    What a maroon.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 02:30:01 PM PST

  •  Title of this post is awesome!!! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Here is what would really put Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    in a pickle.  Pick half a dozen ideas that poll extremely well with the American people, like, say, increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, lowering the age to apply for Medicare, increasing social security payments, increasing tax on rich folks and ending tax subsidies for profitable corporations...

    All those wedge issues that Democrats can be sure to use to bring their base to the polls...

    And try to trick Democrats into voting against all those things at once, by putting them into the debt ceiling bill.

    Boehner would get everyone in his caucus, even the TeaParty wingnuts, to vote for that if he could convince them it would poke a sharp stick in the Democrats' eye.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:07:54 PM PST

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