Earlier today, President Obama took to the White House briefing room to announce that a deal had been struck between Democrats and Republicans. The president clearly stated that not everyone got what they wanted, but it is a deal that will be best for the country. As always, he added his standard platitudes about the wealthy paying more, and corporations have to “…pay their fair share.”
The president spoke as if the deal was done. Nothing could be further from the truth. While House Republicans and Senate Democrats have come to an “agreement,” the bill has not been voted on in the Senate, or in the House. As of the time Obama spoke on Sunday evening, only highlights had been distributed to the rank and file in the House and Senate.
The president jumped the gun, and on purpose. By speaking in the White House briefing room, he made the attempt to set the nation’s expectations. If you were a layman just watching TV, you left Obama’s statement saying to yourself, “OK…done deal. Good. Finally.”
It is an obvious ploy, designed to put massive pressure on House Republicans to pass the legislation. We will now see how Speaker John Boehner responds to this pressure. A long look has to be taken at the “triggers,” which include major cuts to defense, as opposed to across the board cuts. Further, the deal raises the debt limit by $2.4 trillion, a number that might be more than most House members can accept.
House Democrats also have issue with this “compromise.” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the head of the Progressive Caucus, has stated that the 70+ members of the caucus will not support this bill, as it does not include tax increases.
While the president may be positioning House Republicans for a fall, it is the president who has put himself out on a limb. If this deal doesn’t go through, many will wonder how he got it so wrong, how he misread his own party, and if there is time enough before 2012 to mount a primary challenge against him.