House GOP's tactical retreat on debt limit creates time bomb for Democrats in Senate

Washington Post:
House Republicans backed away from their resolute position on the federal debt ceiling, announcing Friday that they will move next week to boost the government’s borrowing authority for three months.

The move is a retreat from the earlier insistence among some Republicans that any such debt increase would have to be matched by spending cuts of equal or greater size.

A vote on the proposal is expected Wednesday. If successful, the measure would postpone what was expected to be a major clash with the White House over government spending.

The new strategy, crafted at a three-day retreat here that
ended Friday, is one sign that Republicans, battered at the polls last November and saddled with low public approval, are looking for new ways to litigate their differences with President Obama and congressional Democrats over spending and deficits.

Under the bill, Republicans will seek to raise the debt limit to allow government borrowing through mid-April — long enough, they say, to give both chambers time to pass a budget for the next fiscal year. If either chamber failed to adopt a budget by April 15, that chamber’s members would then have their congressional pay withheld.

As laid out to fellow Republicans by House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) in a speech at the retreat, the goal would be to force Senate Democrats to pass a budget, something they have failed to do for more than three years. With a budget in place, he told them, Republicans would require that a longer-term increase in the debt ceiling be tied to significant spending cuts.
I think it is inaccurate to say the House back down.  It is still making the same demand but it is doing so in the context of forcing Harry Reid to present a budget.  Perhaps it is just a reflect of the media bias that the original headlines in both the NY Times and Washington Post characterized this move as "backing down."

Ed Rogers has a similar take on how Boehner has put the Democrats in a box.


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