If there is one thing Republican aides want conservatives to know heading into this afternoon’s presentation of Speaker John Boehner’s, R-Ohio, two-tier debt limit plan, it is that President Obama hates it.
The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin had a post up early this morning quoting a “Republican aide” who e-mailed her: “The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan. A short-term increase (with cuts greater than the increase), combined with a committee to find long-term savings before the rest of the increase would be considered. Sen. Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House and the President said no.”
Later in the morning, Jamie Dupree had an identical story from a senior Republican aide on Capitol Hill who told him: “The Speaker, Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell all agreed on the general framework of a two-part plan. … Sen. Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House and the President said no.”
House Republican persistence has paid off. The debt limit end game now seems to have boiled down to two options: 1) a $2.4 trillion debt hike, authored by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that contains dubious spending cuts and no tax hikes; or 2) about a $1 trillion debt hike, authored by Boehner, that contains real spending cuts and no tax hikes. The Reid plan would allow Obama to avoid the debt limit issue through 2012 and would rely on House Democrat votes for passage. The Boehner plan would force Obama to address the debt limit issue one more time before November 2012 and would rely almost entirely on House Republican votes.
House Republicans have played their debt limit hand pretty well so far. Back in December Reid had hoped to use the debt vote to divide Tea Party conservatives from the rest of the Republican caucus. Instead, it is congressional Democrats that have been divided from the White House while Republicans have held firm. It has been a good formula so far. There is no reason to overplay their hand now.