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In her first show back from vacation, Rachel had an exceptional show last night.  Among the topics discussed were whether we as Democrats will keep up the pressure on Republicans in the states with regards anti woman laws and the new hypocrisy of Republicans on paying for tax cut.

But the opening segment was, of course, the fiscal cliff as well as the Sandy debacle, told in the picture of the incompetence of John Boehner.

Her guest for this segment was Senator Chuck Schumer.  Ostensibly, he was there to talk Sandy, but the interview went a bit further than that into politics and governance and the debt ceiling.  Watch it starting at 9:40.  The portion relevant to the debt ceiling starts at 14:30:

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"This will be a big test.  Will they--If President Obama follows through on what he says he's gonna do and--I believe he will and I think we should too--we're NOT going to negotiate on debt ceiling.  You guys--if you guys want to come in the room and say "we're only going to raise the debt ceiling if you cut this this and this--" We should say "Leave the room.  You want to let the debt ceiling lapse, that's on YOUR back."
Now, if you have SCHUMER making this statement, things start to look a little more hopeful, right?  Here you have powerful leaders on the Democratic side urging no negotiations on the debt limit.

But, we all know Schumer knows how to play the game.  He's drawn to a microphone like a moth to a candle and he can tailor his message to his audience.  But I do believe he's genuine in this.

But only as an opening position.

Cuts will be negotiated as part of the sequester and the CR.  There's no getting around that.  What is to be avoided is the double whammy on cuts--cuts for the sequester, and cuts for the debt limit.  Sure, the President can say "You got your cuts in the sequester, give me my debt limit", and I think that may indeed be the plan and the reason for putting all this together at the same time.

But Senator Schumer tonight has given me a little bright spot of hope.  If Democratic leaders start echoing the President on no negotiations on the debt limit and hold that line, perhaps saner heads in the House will prevail.

And this is how it should be done:  They should do all the talking and all they should hear from us is silence.  The only thing that needs to be said is "The debt limit is not a thing to be negotiated."

Or, Schumer can be just saying that to placate us.  In which case the fix is in and it's pointless to even have these discussions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:06:08 AM PST

  •  If they are negotiated together (5+ / 0-)

    ...that's hostage taking right there.

    Sure, the President can say "You got your cuts in the sequester, give me my debt limit", and I think that may indeed be the plan and the reason for putting all this together at the same time.
    Is that really what the plan is? Pushing the Debt Limit negotiations into the same box as the sequestered spending negotiations -- two very differently purposed issues?

    If so, it's a deliberate smoke screen for all kinds of misdeeds and the continuing confusion of the American people.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:17:37 AM PST

    •  If they negotiate the sequester and then Boehner (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, cotterperson, Pluto, MKSinSA

      says "Now it's time for the debt limit" then what?  Do they really want cuts upon cuts?  Wait.  They're Teabaggers.  I see your point.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:19:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can only hold a hostage... (10+ / 0-)

      ...if the rescuers care more about it that you do.

      We did care about UI and things like that much more than the Republicans do.  The balance between defense and domestic is much closer for the sequester, which means it's a far weaker hostage.

      •  I hope you're right. (3+ / 0-)

        It really should be a lot easier to cut military spending than it is. The US military is built up with so many Cold War-ready technologies and projects and assorted boondoggles that it should, in principle, be possible to point to them and tell the American public that these military contractors are being vastly overpaid for strategically irrelevant technologies.

        In the meantime, our troops entered the last war with insufficient body armor -- but we're all set to launch a counteroffensive against the Warsaw pact countries, if that's really where you want your tax dollars to go.

        In principle, all this should be easy enough to say, and be convincing about it. In practice, though, Democrats have lived in terror of being accused of being "soft on our enemies," as if prudently updating our military budget priorities is the same thing as capitulating to terrorists.

        So the Republicans dig in their heels and screech to anyone who will listen that Democrats "don't support the troops." It's a vicious slur, and the Democrats' fear of that slur preserves the military line item from one decade to the next without fail.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:47:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It was a hostage exchange (3+ / 0-)

        the sequester deal.  And in a way, Obama got the better part of that deal, having put no SS, medicare or medicaid cuts in the sequester.

        Call the bluff on the debt ceiling, and this could have a pretty good ending.

        Still, no more can to kick down the road, given (i) the debt ceiling really and truly is hit in 2 months and (ii) whether they get anything for it or not, the Rs aren't going to want to raise the ceiling by itself.  O was clever to tie the two together, so as to allow the Rs some face saving.

      •  In terms of the Debt Limit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        demimondian, zenbassoon

        ...whoever loves the nation best (and wishes to avoid a sovereign credit collapse) will lose.

        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:21:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Need some clarification (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zenbassoon, Pluto

          In raising the issue of the debt ceiling, you've changed the topic.  The debt ceiling and the sequester are only tied together by time and not in any other way.  I'm arguing that the sequester is a poor hostage -- should I conclude that you conceding that and raising a different issue?  Or is there still disagreement about the sequester's value as a hostage?

    •  That's kind of ideal, I think... (10+ / 0-)

      Obama wants (and the country deserves) "tell me how much I'm spending and that authorizes me to spend it". I.e. a bill authorizing spending automatically authorizes the government to pay for that spending, either via revenue or debt as needed.

      Sure they'll try to use it for negotiations. Democrats should push back clearly as it seems Obama is beginning to do and say "if you didn't want me to spend the money, why did you tell me to spend the money?" The debt ceiling is a ridiculous construction.

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:29:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Better he says it than not. (9+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:25:58 AM PST

  •  They'll give away the farm on sequester (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, fat old man

    negotiations and then get a clean debt ceiling raise.  

    Book it.  

    President Obama would have been a Republican in the 1980's.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:30:20 AM PST

    •  Just like (7+ / 0-)

      Obama cut SS in the original debt ceiling negotiation, just like he cut SS in the fiscal cliff deal. That fucker is always cutting entitlements.

      Oh, wait. ~ @MatthewBorgard

      by zegota on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:59:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not keep the sequester? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes, zenbassoon

        And turn them into cuts?

        First, the sequester is for $1Trillion....spread out over 10 freakin' years. So $1Trillion DIVIDED by 10 = $100 billion in cuts/ year.

        Second, the sequester says 1/2 the cuts will be from defense and half from non-defense (with a proviso). That means $50billion in 2013 from Defense....And Panetta has ALREADY identified $60 Billion.
            (BTW, $500 Billion cut from the Defense Budget, IF it actually happens, will bring our defense spending down to the same level as.....2006. Keep this fact handy when faced with slobbering RWingers screaming about "denuding the country" and "leaving us defenseless.")

        Third, the 1/2 of the cuts in the sequester that are NON-Defense SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDE ANY CUTS in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits and several other items dear to the Left.
               SO, that means Obama/Shumer/Sanders/Pelosi/Reid/the Left can say, "We honor the sequester limits since they make sense to cutting the long-term debt. As far as other NON-Defense cuts that total $50Billion in 2013, we propose whacking $4Billion right off the bat by ENDING all oil and Gas and coal and nuclear subsidies, since we believe they are no longer infant industries in need of help or protection from foreign competitors.
                "We propose ending $3bill./year in cotton subsidies, $3.5 Billion/yr. in sugar subsidies, another $3billion in wheat subsidies.
                "So far we are $15 billion cut and economic efficiency improved. Agriculture starts with "A" and we have 25 letters left to go......"

        Screaming? Oh yeah. Spending Cuts available? Piece of cake.



        "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

        by WineRev on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:46:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "perhaps saner heads in the House will prevail" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, zenbassoon, Pluto, MKSinSA, bear83

    Such as? The ones who aren't insane, or pathetic drunks like Boehner, is pretty short. And they pee their pants every time some zillionaire dirtbag like the Kochs or senile freak like Adelson threatens to primary them.
    Theres no cavalry coming to the rescue. The  House is brimming with idiots who think crashing the global economy would be a good thing. Because Freedom. Or Jesus. Or whatever.

  •  No negotiations is the winning strategy. (5+ / 0-)

    If the President resolves the manufactured debt ceiling "crisis" appropriately, either by utilizing an innovative strategy outside the legislative process or--better still--by ignoring it completely and forcing the 1% to rein in their teabagger dupes...

    I'll applaud that action unreservedly.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:39:19 AM PST

    •  If they combine it with the sequester (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, zenbassoon will be negotiated.

      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:23:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been wondering about this: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, PhilJD, isabelle hayes
      innovative strategy outside the legislative process

      My understanding is that the president has said he will not negotiate the "debt ceiling." I was encouraged by what I read (below) that maybe he will either ignore it or invoke the 14th Amendment. Might that be what you're referring to?

      Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned ....
      The United States debt-ceiling crisis in 2011 raised the question of what powers Section 4 gives to the President. Under the current law, the executive branch of the government (which includes the Treasury and the President) is obligated to carry out all appropriations authorized by the Congress. It has been argued that, in the presence of conflicting statutes (a federal budget statute, which instructs the Treasury to spend a certain amount of money, and a debt ceiling statute, which limits the amount of money that the Treasury is allowed to borrow in process), the statute that was passed more recently "wins"; therefore, in this situation, the President may simply instruct the Treasury to continue issuing bonds beyond the ceiling. Furthermore, such an instruction may be difficult to challenge in court, because it would take a joint resolution of both chambers of Congress to get standing to challenge it.[49] In addition, it has been observed by many, such as legal scholar Garrett Epps, fiscal expert Bruce Bartlett and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, that the debt ceiling itself may be unconstitutional and therefore void as long as it interferes with the duty of the government to pay interest on outstanding bonds and to make payments owed to pensioners (that is, Social Security recipients).[50][51]

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:27:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's so adorable that Schumer even bothers with (0+ / 0-)

    this hollow, tough talk.  And it's so adorable that anyone here would even pretend for a second that he, or Obama, will ultimately follow through on said tough talk.  How many times does Lucy have to pull the football away at the last second before Charlies stops trying to kick field goals?  They'll cave like always.  The GOP has been trained by the Dems like a Pavlovian dog to simply wait out the inevitable cave by Obama/Dems.

  •  as soon as I learned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, Pluto

    That the sequester delay would coincide with the debt ceiling, i figured they had put them together deliberately. Then whatever spending reductions are negotiated, Boehner and McConnel can claim they got them in exchange for the debt ceiling and Obama can claim that no, they were all about the sequester and nothing else.

  •  Ed Rendell again oh no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, cotterperson

    Well, Ed was offering chained CPI AND raising Medicare Eligibility Age on The Cycle just now.  I mean the guy is CAMPAIGNING to destroy Medicare.  He relishes it.   He just can't wait to get ahead of the curve on the concessions Obama is going to make.  

    So hey, maybe there will be no negotiations, just capitulations.

  •  Kind of a moot point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, nextstep

    Since sequestration and the CR all about the same time, they are going to have to be effectively (if not overtly) done together.  

    The sequestration is already a done deal -- the cuts will happen unless Congress changes the law.  And, Democrats can't refuse to negotiate over the CR, because that sets the limit of next year's spending.  

  •  Sequester: Cut spending in the leech (red) states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbassoon, isabelle hayes

    The congresscritters pushing hardest for cuts in Federal spending also tend to come from states that receive more in Federal spending than they pay in Federal revenue.  Let's see how they would react to spending cuts or non-tax revenue that mostly impact them.  For example, is there a reason progressives would oppose a proposal for the US to sell off the TVA?

  •  sounds like a great opening gambit...and (3+ / 0-)

    a great closing gambit...and a great gambit for in between, as well.

    It's appalling that a minority of people (rabit, radical, right-wing Tea Baggers) have been allowed to hold this country and its entire economy hostage to their acts of political terrorism.

    The President should say this in his State of the Union speech...and stick to it: the Congress has an obligation to do its job and raise the debt ceiling. To do otherwise is simply irresponsible, especially by endangering the well-being of our entire economy and the well-being of the People of this country.

    Congress has an obligation to do as every other Congress before it has raise the debt ceiling. If they don't, our entire economy is at risk.

    We will not negotiate on this.

    Will can negotiate separately with the House regarding any spending cuts and revenue increases that may be needed to help us get to a balanced budget. But that should not be part of the debt ceiling debate.

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