Politics
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24:  U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The president made a populist pitch to voters for economic fairness, saying the federal government should more do to balance the benefits of a capitalist society.  (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images) WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The president made a populist pitch to voters for economic fairness, saying the federal government should more do to balance the benefits of a capitalist society. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)  

Obama demands $1.6 trillion tax boost, and an unlimited credit card

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Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

If accepted, Obama’s new demand that Congress give up its control over the debt limit would mark a huge loss of Congress’ financial power to the executive branch.

The debt-limit caps the federal government’s debt, which is now set at $16.4 trillion.

Annual tax receipts are only enough to fund the government spending for the first nine months of each year, and Obama can’t legally borrow money on the international market once that debt limit is reached in early 2013.

In 2011, Republicans used their power over the debt limit to squeeze some spending reductions from Obama.

On Thursday, Boehner said Obama would have to bargain for another increase in the debt limit by curbing spending.

But Obama’s post-election lunge for more taxes and an even bigger federal government has also cracked the public unity of GOP legislators.

Sessions and other GOP legislators worry that Obama’s team is posturing in front of the media and voters, while actually delaying and blocking budget talks with Boehner, until the deadline is almost up on Jan. 1.

By posturing until Jan. 1, Obama can pressure Boehner and other Republicans leaders to rush an last-minute tax-increase through Congress while sidelining other legislators and voters, say GOP legislators, including Sessions.

It is “only the speaker and the president of the United States who are negotiating,” Sessions complained. “Apparently the [Democratic] majority leader of the Senate is not intimately involved, the [Democratic] chairman of the budget committee is not involved, the [Democratic] chairman of the finance committee is not involved. … Certainly Republican leaders are not involved,” he said.

“Shouldn’t the president of the United States, the only person who represents everybody in the country, lay out his plan, or must that remain a secret too? Will it just be revealed to us on the eve of Christmas or eve of the new calendar year? We will be asked to vote for it, to ratify it like lemmings, I suppose,” he said in a Thursday statement in the Senate.

“We [senators] ought to be engaged, [because that] would allow the American people to know what’s happening,” he concluded.

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