April 1, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

The Politics of the Debt Ceiling Are Too Tempting

After criticizing Cantors exit from the budget talks, Braley said: We cant afford to put our veterans, our seniors and our entire economy in jeopardy because a few members of Congress dont want to do the work they were sent here to do.

Braleys approach, then, was to respond with mindless partisan rhetoric that will help him move up the House leadership ladder but wont move the Congress to resolve a serious problem.

Rep. Xavier Becerras (D-Calif.) comment that Republicans are running away from the mess they created also shows he is fitting right in at the Capitol. Its all the oppositions fault.

Republicans want to drag President Obama into the middle of negotiations, understanding that would put him between a rock and a hard place. He either has to agree to take additional revenue off the table, creating a firestorm in his party, or he has to look as if he wants higher taxes and isnt sufficiently committed to deficit reduction.

Its a terrible place for the president to be but its the only place he ought to be, given the importance of the negotiations and the necessity of an agreement.

Still, its hard to believe an agreement between the parties is imminent. After all, we are still five weeks away from the deadline by which Congress must act, so what politician could possibly pass up a whole month of demonizing the opposition by charging it is in bed with Big Oil, siding with billionaires over the middle class, opposed to any spending cuts and intent on taxing all of us into the poor house?

Get set for a long, hot month of July.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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