Re: Forcing Obama’s Hand

by Andrew Stiles

As Dan notes, Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham is not of fan of the McConnell plan. But while he may disagree with Grover Norquist on this point, they share the same goal: force President Obama to show his cards on the debt limit.

In an interview with National Review Online, Needham calls the president a “fundamentally unserious” negotiator on the debt and deficit. “At the end of day know you have someone in the White House who is irresponsible,” he says.

The Republican goal all along, Needham notes, has been to use the debt ceiling as leverage to extract spending concessions from the White House. He argues that McConnell’s proposal constitutes a “pretty serious walk-back” from that position, but agrees with the need to increase the pressure on the president to put forward a detailed plan of his own.

To that end, Needham suggests that Republicans “force all of these negotiations out into the clear” by passing deficit-reduction legislation in the House (e.g., Cut, Cap and Balance) and demanding a competing proposal from the president. “There’s really nothing to talk about until the president puts out a plan,” he says. “If he doesn’t want to do that he should be prepared to live under a balanced budget as of August 2.”

Same goal, different tactic. While it looks like House Republicans aren’t too thrilled about the McConnell option, Republicans are certainly united on the need for a new approach to the negotiations. They agree that President Obama is a disingenuous negotiator and are determined to call him out. As House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said earlier today: “This debt limit increase is his problem, and I think it’s time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass.”

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