The Corner

A Big Ask

The last two times a Republican House gave a Democratic president an increase in the debt ceiling were in 1996 and 1997. On the first occasion, Republicans got three items they wanted–indeed, they called the legislation the “Contract with America Advancement Act”–and made no further concessions. On the second occasion, they got reductions in future spending and some tax cuts. In both cases, perhaps needless to say, they increased the debt limit by less than they are being asked to do now. We have heard a lot about how far Republicans have moved to the right in recent years. But it’s hard to imagine the Republicans of any year giving Obama a big debt-limit increase coupled with a net tax hike.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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