The latest knock on President Barack Obama in the debt ceiling debate is that he has been reluctant to play a leadership role and try to craft the best deal possible.
But are there some political calculations in the White House’s handling of this crisis?
In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Friday, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions called out Obama for those calculations. He accused Obama of putting his own political interests ahead of finding a solution to the debt ceiling negotiation impasse.
“The president said — really — this is what the president said a week ago: ‘The only bottom line that I have is that we extend this debt ceiling through the next election, until 2013,’ close-quote,” Sessions said.
“The president thinks this is about him. It’s all about him. This is about America — what’s good for this country. It’s not about the president. It’s not about politics. If it was about politics, I wouldn’t vote for the Boehner amendment and neither would those patriotic members of the House because it’s not enough. It does not do what we need to do.”
Sessions ripped the compromise put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, explaining it may be similarly motivated by politics.
“The Reid amendment to increase the debt limit deems two consecutive budget resolutions for fiscal years 2012 and 2013,” Sessions said. “In other words, it basically takes over the budget process and sets the basic spending numbers. Does the president think the Senate should go two more years without crafting or passing a budget? We’ve already gone two [years].”
And those were precisely the motivations behind the wait on crafting a budget in the Senate, he said.
“The reason the Majority Leader did not want a budget to come up is because when you bring a budget up you have to vote, people have alternatives, they offer amendments, and the members go on record and he’s protecting his members from having to do the primary responsibility of a United States Senator — that is, before the world, to cast their vote, to be responsible for it, and to be accountable to the people who sent them there,” Sessions said.