Many Republicans have said they will vote to increase the federal debt ceiling only if spending cuts are also enacted. Meanwhile President Obama has maintained, and reiterated in a press conference Monday, that the GOP “will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.”
The Washington Post editorial board, peacemaker at heart, says Obama should maybe try hearing Republicans out. From the paper’s editorial today:
While Mr. Obama may refuse to negotiate over the debt ceiling, it’s not so clear that he and his fellow Democrats can avoid negotiating with the Republicans entirely — the urgings of certain members of Mr. Obama’s party to the contrary notwithstanding.
Fortunately, Mr. Obama left the door open to that possibility in his otherwise combative news conference Monday. Alluding to his close-but-no-cigar debt-reduction talks with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) after the November election, he suggested that there could still be a modified version of that near-deal, worth about $1.5 trillion over 10 years, including revenue raised by tax reform and “some additional cuts, including . . . reducing our health-care spending.” That would be unsatisfactory, relative to the country’s debt problem. But relative to the country’s current political and fiscal impasse, such an outcome would rate as a very happy ending indeed.