When the Going Gets Tough…


…Majority Leader Eric Cantor gets going.

Yesterday, Leader Cantor abandoned the bipartisan Vice President Biden-led debt talks that were set to continue in good faith – undermining weeks of work and placing the American economy in serious jeopardy. While Democrats are committed to reducing the deficit in a responsible way that creates jobs, preserves Medicare, and strengthens the middle class, Republicans have insisted on protecting tax breaks for Big Oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

The New York Times – Their Temper Tantrum:

Congressional Republicans, who played a major role in piling up the government’s unsustainable debt in the first place, have thrown a tantrum and walked out of the debt limit talks. This bit of grandstanding has brought the nation closer to the financial crisis that Republicans have been threatening for weeks. But, at least now, their real goals are in sharp focus.

The two Republicans in the talks, Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and Senator Jon Kyl, the minority whip, had no intention of actually negotiating. Negotiations require listening to those on the other side and giving them something they want in exchange for some of your goals.

It has been obvious all along that cutting government services alone is not a solution to either the budget deficit or the mounting national debt. The Democrats, at least, acknowledged that reality at the bargaining table by saying that along with the cuts the Republicans cherish, there would have to be increases in revenue — an end to unnecessary tax loopholes for corporations or the rich…

The deadline for raising the debt limit or facing a default is Aug. 2. Republicans cannot walk away from their responsibility to pay the bills and keep the economy out of further crisis.

Reuters – Adventures with debt-ceiling Kabuki, cont.:

This is all out of the standard Republican playbook: cut taxes, raise deficits, and leave the consequences to future generations. But now there’s been an important change, in that the Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it. They can continue to be fiscally irresponsible on taxes, which inevitably means a steadily rising national debt, or else they can start drawing lines in the sand when it comes to the debt ceiling, in which case they have to allow that some tax increases are necessarily going to have to be on the table. But they can’t have it both ways. Hence the punt by Eric Cantor. Something has to give, and he doesn’t want to be in the room when that happens: he’s kicking responsibility over to Boehner instead…

National Journal – Why Cantor Really Left the Debt Talks:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s decision to walk away from the Biden group debt-ceiling negotiations on Thursday was met with swift criticism from Democratic opponents and surprise from fellow Republicans, who were largely caught off guard by his about-face on the talks.

Democrats were quick to characterize Cantor’s move as one made out of weakness and not strength. “To paraphrase Speaker Boehner, this was not an adult moment,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who added that the Virginia Republican “clearly got spooked” by how the deal likely has to come together. Reid characterized Cantor’s decision as “untoward,” and Jonathan Cowan, president of the center-left think tank Third Way, said in a statement that Cantor “cannot stomach” engaging in the kind of compromise talks that Boehner, Reid, and Obama will now have to settle…

In Thursday’s announcement, however, Cantor has exposed weaknesses—his reactionary nature and tendency to act in his own best interest first fueled the narrative on Thursday of a simmering tension between the Boehner and Cantor operations.

CBS News – Schieffer: Dysfunctional D.C. back to square one:

Political wrangling over the budget deficit and raising the debt ceiling heated up yesterday, as Republicans left talks saying said the two sides had reached an impasse…

Negotiators had been saying for weeks that the talks led by Vice President Biden were going well, and that they had managed to cobble together about a trillion dollars in spending cuts.

But Democrats were also proposing slashing tax breaks for oil and gas companies; for companies that ship jobs overseas; and for wealthy Americans.

That’s where Republicans balked…

[CBS News’ Bob Schieffer said,] “Republicans, on the other hand, want nothing to do with anything that can be branded a tax hike. We’re not talking about raising taxes in the conventional sense; you’re talking about eliminating subsidies for some big businesses – things like subsidies to the oil companies, subsidies to ethanol producers. And the Republicans are saying, if you eliminate those subsidies, that is, in effect, a tax increase…

“We’re in very dangerous territory right now,” Schieffer said.

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