“Despite dancing in the end zone, which he’s doing, he keeps moving the goal posts. His revenue number keeps changing,” Camp said. “There is a point that the economy can only sustain so much revenue being taken out of it.”
Another possibility would be to give in now on tax rates for the wealthy and tackle Social Security and Medicare early next year, when Obama will need Congress to raise the $16.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing. That could blunt the worst economic effects of the fiscal cliff and push off the fight over spending to a moment when many Republicans think they would have additional leverage.
‘Fiscal cliff’ calculator’: What it will mean for me
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Their directives include personnel reductions and a 30 percent cut for Army base operations this year.
Attempts to cut the Columbus Fellowship Foundation illustrate the difficulties of austerity in Washington.
The list of people who want to eliminate the debt ceiling includes Alan Greenspan, three former Treasury Secretaries, most of the nation's prominent economists, and analysts dating as far back as the 1950s.
But there are problems with that strategy, too. Many Republicans say they are willing to vote for higher tax rates only as part of a big debt-reduction deal. So, in the absence of such a deal, top GOP aides have been looking for a way to make Democrats bear the political burden of raising taxes on the rich.
It could work like this: The Republican-controlled House could adopt two competing bills. One, supported primarily by Republicans, would extend the expiring low tax rates for all households, including the rich. The second, supported primarily by Democrats, would extend the current low rates only on income less than $250,000 a year, allowing rates for the wealthy to increase. Both measures would go to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which would then pass only the Democratic bill.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proposed that the Senate hold an immediate vote on a proposal from Obama that would essentially give the president the ability to unilaterally raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
“Look: the only way we ever cut spending around here is by using the debate over the debt limit to do it,” McConnell said on the floor of the Senate. “Now the president wants to remove that spur to cut altogether.... I assure you: It’s not going to happen. The American people want Washington to get spending under control. And the debt limit is the best tool we have to make the president take that demand seriously.”
The maneuver was designed to force Democrats to go on record as agreeing to largely removing Congress’ role in the sensitive issue of the nation’s legal borrowing limit. Republicans believe many Democrats facing tough reelection battles in 2014 would not vote to hand that kind of power to the president. The measure is not likely to draw the Republican support to muster the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate, meaning Democrats would be forced to take a tough vote on a bill doomed to failure.
Obama had proposed the mechanism as part of a deficit reduction package submitted to Congressional leaders by Geithner last week. Obama suggested that in the future, the president would propose increases in the debt limit in a resolution that Congress could then vote to disapprove. The president could then veto the disapproval resolution — allowing the debt limit to rise unless Congress could muster the two-thirds vote necessary to override his action.