As the negotiations regarding raising the nation’s debt ceiling have ground on, Republicans have steadfastly refused to make any concessions. While Democrats have reportedly agreed to trillions of dollars in spending cuts, as well as cuts and changes to Medicare and Social Security, the GOP has refused to consider raising taxes on the richest Americans or oil companies, or closing tax loopholes that benefit corporate jet owners and billionaire hedge fund managers.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress’ Marie Diamond noted that GOP leaders, even as they say that its imperative and necessary, consider the very act of raising the debt ceiling to be a concession on their part. For instance, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said yesterday that the key Republican concession is “the fact that we are voting the fact that we are even discussing voting for a debt ceiling increase.”
Today, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) took this absurd notion one step further, claiming that the spending cuts that the GOP has demanded in return for a debt ceiling increase are somehow a concession on the part of Republicans:
Q: You say you want to reach a deal, you say it’s important, everyone in the room says the same thing, but the President says Republicans have to make concessions to move this ball forward. Where are these concessions?
BOEHNER: I don’t know why he believes that it’s going to be any easier for Republicans than Democrats to make these tough decisions, uhhh, in terms of reducing spending. Washington has a spending problem, we don’t have a revenue problem.
As Boehner himself explained earlier today, “my message to the White House over the last several months has been real simple: the spending cuts have to be larger than the increase in the debt ceiling.” Yesterday he said, “the House can only pass a debt limit bill that includes spending cuts larger than the hike in the debt limit…I think we also need real reductions in spending right now.” The day before that he told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, “I’ve made it clear all through this fight that we should not increase the debt limit without real spending cuts.”
To try and turn the tables now and make it seem that the spending cuts Republicans have demanded for months are some sort of concession is the height of ludicrousness. Boehner agrees that the debt ceiling needs to go up to avoid economic catastrophe, yet he’s still dragging these negotiations out in order to score maximum political points.