A strategy for the looming debt ceiling fight

Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal about how the GOP’s strategy should be in approaching the upcoming debt ceiling fight.  The core strategy that Mr. Rove argues for is for the coupling of debt increases and spending cuts.  We saw this strategy initially employed by John Boehner during the initial debt ceiling fight in 2011.

The GOP congressional leadership is right to say that they will not negotiate in private with Mr. Obama, and that tax increases are not on the table, especially after the president received $620 billion in new taxes to end the “fiscal cliff” crisis.

 

But this means House Republicans must pass a measure pairing specific spending cuts with a debt-ceiling increase that will have few, if any, Democratic votes. It would therefore be tactically wise for Republicans to draw many of these cuts from the recommendations of Mr. Obama’s own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (aka Simpson-Bowles).

 

It would be even better if much of the savings were achieved by moderating future spending increases or freezing outlays, rather than reducing them from today’s levels. Both are possible: Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plans—approved by House Republicans in 2011 and 2012—achieved most of their savings by restraining future growth.

 

Passing such a measure will require the GOP to accept less than total repeal of the Obama agenda, vote for spending cuts smaller than what they want, and support a debt increase all Republicans wish were not necessary. Republicans voting against a GOP plan because it’s not perfect would just be aiding and abetting Mr. Obama.