John Boehner at his weekly press conference earlier Thursday renewing his vow to use the full faith and credit of the United States as a political weapon:
Congress is never going to give up our ability to control the purse and the fact is that the debt limit ought to be used to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C.Uh, shouldn't the first rule of fiscal sanity be that Congress pay the bills for the money that it spends? If Congress wants to spend less money, it should spend less money—not throw the country into default. After all, the debt limit isn't about spending money, it's about paying for what Congress has already spent.
In 2011, the White House made the mistake of negotiating over the debt limit, but this time they are saying it's off the table. As Armando put it yesterday, they've made their offer, and their offer is nothing.
Given what happened in 2011, it seems likely that House Republicans will continue to test the administration's resolve, but from the president on down they seem adamant that they will not give in to GOP threats. That might mean we go past the point of the the statutory debt limit, but if that does happen, it will be because House Republicans refused to take care of a problem they created.
There's a debate to be had over whether and how the White House can work around the debt limit if Congress fails to act, but that's a far better debate to have than one about whether and how to appease those who threaten economic sabotage. Fortunately, congressional Democrats are standing behind the White House. That show of unity is essential, because however this ends up playing out, the most important thing is that we put an end to the notion that the full faith and credit of the United States is nothing but a political football.