“Yesterday represented a victory for the American economy and American middle class,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “An end to that kind of brinksmanship, for now, is a very welcome thing.”
In the face of the White House's unwavering stance and GOP concerns that another fiscal fight could cost them politically after October's government shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, brought a debt bill with no conditions to the House floor on Tuesday.
Boehner’s move marked an abrupt about-face as GOP leaders on Monday said they would tie a hike to the nation’s borrowing limit to reversing military pension cuts. That measure was met with little enthusiasm amid the GOP rank-and-file.
Boehner, though, was forced to rely on Democratic votes pass the debt bill. The Senate is expected to pass a debt ceiling increase on Wednesday.
Carney said he hoped the move signalled a turning point in Washington, but added that he “can’t predict the future.”
“As a sort of starting principle, Washington should not be causing harm to the American economy. And that's what Washington, Congress, Republicans in Congress, had been doing through the kinds of brinksmanship that we've seen in the past over shutting down the government or threatening default,” said Carney.
“Obviously, yesterday was a very positive development. It says something about the expectations that the American people have of Congress that people notice when Congress actually doesn't do direct harm to the economy. And by Congress, I mean Republicans in Congress,” he continued.
Carney credited the House GOP decision to adopt a clean debt bill to Obama's tough stance and refusal to negotiate.
“I think what happened yesterday reflects the fundamental soundness of the position the president has taken, which is that the president of the United States, whether he or she is a Democrat or Republican, should not pay on behalf of the American people a ransom to Congress so that Congress authorizes the bills that Congress racked up to be paid,” he said.
“The president held firm the position that he's had, feeling very confident that it was the right position,” Carney added.