At Fiscal Cliff, a Debt Ceiling Showdown Now Looms

Fiscal cliff debate roaring through Washington

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 27, 2012 7:58 AM CST | Updated Nov 27, 2012 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Wrangling at the edge of the fiscal cliff is the main event in Washington right now, and the stakes might be even higher than most people realize. At President Obama's first meeting with John Boehner, he asked him to raise the debt ceiling before the end of the year, sources tell Politico. Boehner's reply: "There is a price for everything." Another showdown over the debt ceiling could put the US at risk of another credit downgrade. In other fiscal cliff news:

  • A rift is brewing between Senate and House Republicans, with the former favoring a swift lame duck compromise, and the latter hoping to hold out for sweeping entitlement reforms they won't get in a few weeks, the Hill reports. "After having been pounded on Medicare, they're saying, 'We're not backing off,'" one analyst says.
  • Many Democrats, meanwhile, are digging in their heels against entitlement reform, the New York Times reports, with prominent liberal Sens. Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller coming out against it in recent days. Influential groups like the AARP are also pressing against the idea.
  • Indeed, so many groups and activists are weighing in that it's beginning to feel like campaign season again, the Washington Post observes. Union groups even aired ads in key states during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade urging against entitlement cuts.
  • What's more, Obama is hitting the road, CNN notes. On Friday, he'll head to Pennsylvania to tour a manufacturing facility and give a speech making his case.
  • On the tax side, Republicans have shown a willingness to talk about "revenue," but that word means different things to each party, NPR points out. To Democrats, it means letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 2% of Americans; to Republicans, it means finding a way to raise money without angering Grover Norquist.

President Barack Obama pauses as he hosts a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy, Nov. 16, 2012,  in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
President Barack Obama pauses as he hosts a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and economy, Nov. 16, 2012, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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