On Wednesday, President Barack Obama indicated that having unlimited powers to raise the debt ceiling without Congress’s approval may be more important to him than raising taxes — and he may veto his own tax hike proposal to take the country over the fiscal cliff if he does not get his ultimate wish.
Addressing corporate CEOs at the Business Roundtable, Obama said using the debt ceiling as leverage to get more spending cuts was a “bad strategy for America” and “it is a game I will not play.”
According to The Hill, Obama also told the business leaders that they “should not accept going through” another round of debt-ceiling negotiations like the one in 2011.
“We can’t go there again,” Obama said.
With his words, Obama was putting pressure on Republicans to adopt what many consider the most outrageous part of the White House’s initial offer to avert the fiscal cliff.
Republicans have noted that they were able to gain $2 trillion in spending cuts by using the debt ceiling as leverage. If the debt ceiling could be raised without Congressional approval, government spending would be even more excessive than it is already.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Obama’s proposal was an attempt at a “power grab.”
“The president wants to have the ability to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants, for as much as he wants, with no responsibility or spending cuts attached,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told The Hill. “This is an idea opposed by Democrats and Republicans alike; it’s a power grab that has no support here.”
On Tuesday, Obama rejected House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s counteroffer of $800 billion in new taxes without serious structural reforms to entitlements. The offer was was lambasted and criticized by conservatives.
Boehner said the White House plan could not pass either House of Congress and it was now incumbent upon Obama to send his plan to avert the fiscal cliff to Congress.