The president wants a very large increase in the debt ceiling—he and his team have demanded either no limit at all, or a five-year increase, which means at least a few trillion dollars. His obvious goal is to punt the issue past the 2014 midterm election. Yet if he has to ask Congress for a new increase every few months, the spending problem his administration has exacerbated in his first term will dominate the policy agenda—when he wants to work on other issues.Republicans should let them have it, good and hard;
He can have a long-term debt-limit increase if he agrees to cut spending, or he can have repeated, short-term increases without spending cuts. If the president continues to dodge the country's long-term spending problem, the solution is to force him to ask Congress every few months to give him the authority to borrow more while facing questions about why he refuses to restrain spending.And, the Republicans will only have to provide about 20 of the votes in the House to make it happen. The President will have to get House Democrats to provide the bulk the 'yes' votes.
It's hard to overstate how much members of Congress in both parties hate to vote for a debt-limit increase, and how entitled to ducking the vote House Democrats feel because they're in the minority. The point of this strategy is to force Democrats to take responsibility for more borrowing without spending cuts, over and over again.Sir Humphrey Appleby would smile.