Obama is threatening to shut down unessential government functions, such as national parks, if Congress doesn’t agree to raise taxes a lot. Of course, Republicans will get the blame.
For months Democrats, led by Harry Reid, have been clamoring to end the so-called sequestration caps on spending. In 2013 on the day of the shutdown, Obama accused Republicans for holding “the entire economy hostage over ideological demands.”
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Reid has vowed to filibuster every spending bill until the Democrats get their tax hike — “a gridlock scenario that could lead to another autumn government shutdown. President Obama has backed up the Nevadan, threatening to veto pretty much any spending bill that hits his desk.”
The amusing thing is that the whole idea of sequestration came from the White House. According to Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” the White House pushed sequestration as a way to force Republicans to increase taxes, thinking they’d not go along with defense cuts. It failed to work.
Here is a recent White House briefing exchange that makes the silly gamesmanship very clear:
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Let me ask that question about the budget differently. Is the president willing to shut the government down if Congress doesn’t agree to limit the sequester spending levels?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Jon, the president feels very strongly that Congress needs to both pass a budget on time, but also make sure that our economy and our national security priorities don’t have to suffer from the mindless austerity that was brought about in the sequester. So, the president has made clear that he will not support legislation that locks in those sequester caps that neglect our economic and national security priorities. The good news —
KARL: So he would veto a spending bill that didn’t raise the spending levels? He would be willing to shut the government down unless the Congress agrees to lift those spending levels?
EARNEST: Well, let me say a couple things about that. The first is that it’s not at all clear to me that there is bipartisan support. Let me say it this way — it’s not at all clear to me that there is enough support in the United States Congress to pass a budget that would walk-in sequester spending…
The president’s position on this has been very clear that he will not sign into law a budget bill that would lock in sequester levels of spending.
It is a game of chicken and Obama is fighting against the very idea he came up with.