House Speaker John Boehner is comparing apples to oranges.
The Ohio Republican complained on Wednesday that President Obama is willing to work with Russia to disarm Syria but won’t bargain with the GOP over the debt limit.
“Most presidents refer to their bipartisan efforts to reduce the deficit as achievements. The president sees this…as extortion,” Boehner said at a briefing. “So while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won’t engage with the Congress on a play to—that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy. Let me be clear here. A debt limit increase without any reforms to lower our deficit just isn’t going to cut it.”
Boehner said on Wednesday that the House would support a plan to keep the government funded beyond September--while also defunding Obama’s healthcare law. The measure stands no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by President Obama, which suggests the parties still remain awfully far apart on a deal--raising the likelihood of a government shutdown.
Of course, Boehner’s comparison isn’t really apt. Talking to one of the world's most powerful countries (and one of America's chief frenemies) about a potential military strike in the Middle East is different than pretty much any domestic political discussion--but particularly surrounding the debt ceiling. Boehner's GOP has pioneered new ground in holding America's credit rating hostage in exchange for big concessions from Obama--and his refusal to negotiate this time around is more of an "enough is enough" posture than any outright refusal to talk.
Boehner repeated the comparison in a web video he released earlier in the day. It includes a montage of Obama and his team saying they won’t bargain with the GOP over the debt limit. A series of clips are then played with Obama and White House officials saying they’ll work with the Russians and one that shows Obama and Putting shaking hands smiling at each other. It ends with the words “Why is The Obama Administration willing to negotiate with Putin on Syria…But now with Congress to address Washington’s spending problem?”