Did President Obama Disarm the Debt Ceiling?

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After a dozen 11th-hour fiscal boxing matches between Democrats and Republicans in recent memory, it looks as if Washington lawmakers have finally tired of brinkmanship. On Tuesday evening, more than two weeks before Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the United States would reach is statutory spending limit, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to bring a clean debt ceiling proposal to vote.

Sources told the Washington Post on Tuesday that GOP leadership no longer believes they will be able to win concessions from President Barack Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate over the debt ceiling. Ostensibly looking to avoid the kind of last-minute wheeling and dealing that shut down parts of the government and invoked massive public ire in October, Boehner and a number of other House Republicans appear willing to vote yes on a clean debt ceiling proposal — enough, maybe, to pass the measure with the “north of 180″ House Democrats that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says are on board with the plan.

“You all know that our members are not crazy about voting to increase the debt ceiling,” Boehner told reporters on Tuesday. “And so the fact is we’ll let the Democrats put the votes up. We’ll put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed.”

Boehner continued: “Our members are also very upset with the president. He won’t negotiate. He won’t deal with our long-term spending problems without us raising taxes. He won’t even sit down and discuss these issues. He’s the one driving up the debt and the question they’re asking is, why should I deal with his debt limit?”

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