The Obama administration seems to have come up with a novel plan for getting a debt ceiling deal–just pass it, and then we’ll find out what is in it. Sound familiar?
You’d think the administration might have learned the pitfalls of haste and secrecy with Obamacare, which has supplied us with countless unwelcome shocks since we began to find out what was in the bill that passed largely unread. But the administration hasn’t learned-or perhaps it has learned only too well that that is the best way to pass its agenda is to make sure nobody has a chance to read it or prepare opposition.
Fred Barnes, noting that if there is a deal, it will have been hammered out behind closed doors, says that the rush to ratify means that most members of Congress will have only a day or two to read it. Senators Jeff Sessions and Orrin Hatch have written the president asking that the public and Congress have time to read and understand the implications of the deal before the vote.
“While we may disagree about how best to confront our deficits, or on how severe and immediate a threat they pose, we can surely agree that the American people deserve time to study the decisions their leaders are making on their behalf,” the Republican senators wrote.
Even as the debt limit talks continue, details of what is being proposed should be provided to Congress, they said. “Unfortunately, this information is being kept a secret as part of closed-door negotiations.” The senators asked Obama to provide, “in detail, the most recent version of the proposals that were discussed, including a list of any tax increases for which the White House reportedly advocated.”
Sessions also wants a 7-day period between the release of an agreement and a vote in Congress – enough time for analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and hearings. A period as short as three days isn’t sufficient to bring the public into the discussion, Sessions believes. …
Except for Sessions, few members of Congress have questioned the secrecy of the negotiations. And the participants have said practically nothing about what has gone on.
Because of this, Obama’s statements in his press conference on Wednesday are unverifiable.
This is of course the Obama pattern: do what you want to do and then let the public try to overturn it. This is what happened with health legislation. The move to repeal Obamacare will consume enormous resources, but the president is banking on eventual surrender in the face of the difficulties of repeal.
Viewed in this light, the president’s establishment of an artificial deadline-July 22-for the deal makes all the more sense.