Republicans reacted with predictable frustration and annoyance to President Obama’s term-ending press conference in which he warned the GOP that it will “not collect a ransom in return for not crashing the economy.”
GOP lawmakers had reasoned that agreeing to the fiscal cliff deal meant that they could come back to demand spending cuts in order to once again approve raising the debt ceiling.
“You don’t go out to dinner and then eat all you want and then leave without paying the check—and if you do you’re breaking the law,” Obama said. “If Congress wants to have a debate about maybe we shouldn’t go out to dinner next time, maybe we should go to a more modest restaurant, that’s fine. That’s a debate that we should have. But you don’t say, ‘In order for me to control my appetites, I’m going to not pay.’”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “the American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time.”
“The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved,” Boehner said in response to Obama’s news conference. “…The House will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same.”
“The president’s repeated insistence that raising the debt ceiling is necessary to only pay the bills we have already incurred is patently false,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), former Club for Growth president, said. “Past spending has already been funded through a combination of taxes collected and previously issued debt. The president is calling for an increase in the debt ceiling in order to issue new debt which will pay for future spending. It is precisely this future spending which must be brought under control.”
“After all the middle class tax hikes in Obamacare and the tax increases he received at the end of last year, the president now wants still higher taxes to pay for even more spending. This must not happen,” Toomey added.
“I agree with the president that we should not be a ‘deadbeat nation’ and that we should ‘stabilize our debt and our deficit in a sustainable way,’” said Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a member of the Joint Economic Committee. “The most balanced and least partisan way to do that is to enact a permanent, structural spending restraint, such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, that requires Congress to live within its means.”
“The president says he wants to stabilize our debt, reduce our deficit, ensure we make important investments to improve our economy, and end political gamesmanship. I share his interest in these goals and hope he will join me in pursuing the right spending reforms so that we may achieve them,” Lee added.
Tweeted Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas): “Remember when: President Obama last signed a debt ceiling increase, on August 2, 2011, for $2.1 trillion?”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) responded by reminding people of Obama’s vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2005.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies,” then-Sen. Obama said. “…Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”