Orszag: Obama lost leverage for fiscal fights ahead

Susan Crabtree
The Washington Times

Despite Democratic claims to the contrary, President Obama’s former top budget adviser thinks his old boss has lost leverage for the budget battles to come in the wake of this week’s deal avoiding an immediate fall over the “fiscal cliff.”

In comments Wednesday on CNBC that were instantly circulated by the Republican National Committee, former Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag disputed Mr. Obama’s assertion that he would not bargain with GOP lawmakers over raising the nation’s debt limit, which Congress will vote on in late February or early March.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress on whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws they passed,” the president said late Tuesday night.

But Mr. Orszag said the president may not have much choice in the matter, with fights over big spending cuts still looming under the so-called “sequestration” approach.

“Well, I don’t know that that statement actually frankly matters that much,” he said. “You know, the sequester was only delayed by two months, so you’re going to have to negotiate over that. You’re going to have to negotiate over the appropriations bill for the funding the daily operations of the government.”…

The article continues at The Washington Times.

Update: Waiting For The Sequel To The Fiscal Cliff by Michael Reagan

Update 2: Paul Krugman is “feeling so despondent.”

Why? “Because of the way Obama negotiated” the fiscal cliff deal.

He gave every indication of being more or less desperate to cut a deal before the year ended….He did? Funny, Rush Limbaugh kept saying Obama wanted to go over the cliff. It was his preference. The idea was to get rid of the hated Bush tax cuts and the cliff was there as a device to make it possible to blame the GOP…

Read the whole thing. “Despondent”? Really?  Maybe someone should tell Krugman how the rest of us feel.

Also, Obama’s Crony Capitalism: How corporate tax credits got in the ‘cliff’ deal

…General Electric and Citigroup, for instance, hired Breaux and Lott to extend a tax provision that allows multinational corporations to defer U.S. taxes by moving profits into offshore financial subsidiaries. This provision — known as the “active financing exception” — is the main tool GE uses to avoid nearly all U.S. corporate income tax….

Update 3: McConnell: Obama a ‘Bully’ on Spending

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted President Obama’s unwillingness to talk about spending. Speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said, “The President thinks he can bully us into not talking about spending. And it clearly won’t work.” Later, he reiterated: “This is the time to engage, and he’s not going to bully us into not talking about spending.” McConnell stated that he would not be discussing the tax rates further. “But now, the tax issue is over, and we move on to engage on the biggest problem confronting the future, and that’s the overspending,” he told Hewitt.  Would Republicans be willing to shut down the government rather than raising the debt ceiling? McConnell said, “What we have been unable to get him to do so far, in multiple conversations, and in various legislative negotiations, is to get him to actually agree to make the changes that are necessary to save the country. So hopefully, it won’t come to the issue of whether or not we have to default. Default is something that I think most people would think would be a bad idea, but it doesn’t mean that the President just kind of willy-nilly gets a debt ceiling increase just because he asks for it. He’s got to earn it.”…

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