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Obama to End DADT, Snaps at Congressional GOP Over Debt Ceiling

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 23, 2011 3:05PM

Here in Illinois we know the feeling of living with a government that can't pay its bills. Now imagine that on a national level and you just begin to understand how serious the debt ceiling negotiations have become. President Obama summoned House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders to the White House this morning to continue to try and find a detente so that they can raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2 or risk defaulting on the national debt.

Both Obama and Boehner pointed fingers at each other in dueling press conferences yesterday after Boehner walked out of negotiations that favored the GOP, with $2.6 trillion in cuts outweighing new tax revenue of $1.2 trillion. Boehner accused the President of "moving the goalposts" on negotiations, insisting Obama's only way to generate extra revenue is to raise taxes. Obama countered in his press conference by saying , "We have run out of time and they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default."

If the nation defaults on its debt it could threaten the already fragile economic recovery, cause interest rates to increase, lower the U.S. bond rating and cause an international economic panic. Here is where Congress and the President find themselves in a bit of a Mexican standoff. Congressional GOP leaders won't accept raising the debt ceiling without some spending cuts (and they're targeting entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security in order for that to happen). Obama and congressional Democrats want increases on taxes, in particular on the wealthy. Boehner walked out on negotiations yesterday because the two sides are far apart the latter.

It's worth noting that Boehner has twice rejected debt ceiling compromises that would have been very appealing for the House GOP and caused many within the Democratic Party to question the President even more than they are now. With an eye towards the 2012 elections, both the President and Boehner are beginning to allow politics to further sway the negotiations. Obama comes off looking good in these scenarios for potential 2012 voters simply because he looks like the adult in a room full of quarreling buffoons. The House GOP, meanwhile, continues to pander to its Tea Party supporters with their belligerent stance.

Not everything yesterday was indigestion inducing for Obama. The President also announced that he would officially end the ban on gays in the military on September 20. "As commander in chief, I have always been confident that our dedicated men and women in uniform would transition to a new policy in an orderly manner that preserves unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness,” Obama said in a statement.

“Today’s action follows extensive training of our military personnel and certification by Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen that our military is ready for repeal. As of September 20th, service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country.”

If we were President, we would have lifted the ban on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and dared folks on the right to complain. In for a penny, in for a pound, we say.

The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is less than two weeks away.