It happens in every cop movie or TV series: a desperate escaped prisoner or robber holes up in an abandoned warehouse or bank lobby. He’s surrounded by the SWAT team and the entire police force, and the hostage negotiator is out there with a bullhorn. The perp announces his demands, which includes everything from a helicopter to facilitate his escape, weapons to protect himself, free passage to a place with no extradition treaty, food, clothing, a new passport, and while you’re at it, throw in an iPod with a compilation of Kelly Clarkson’s greatest hits. Desperate people do stupid things.
That’s basically where we are with the House Republicans and their plan to raise the debt ceiling.
The bill, obtained by the National Review, tacks on items including a one-year delay of Obamacare; tax reform in the image of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); approval of the Keystone pipeline; expanded offshore drilling and other pro-oil and coal energy reforms; increases in military spending coupled with deeper cuts to domestic programs; repealing a fund in the financial regulatory reform bill; means testing for Medicare; repealing the Obamacare prevention and public health fund and medical malpractice reform.
One House GOP leadership aide didn’t deny the contents of the summary but cautioned that it may not be final. The aims, however, reflect the direction the House of Representatives is taking and contains important clues as to how the debate will unfold.
“On the debt limit, we’re going to introduce a plan that ties important spending cuts and pro-growth reforms to a debt limit increase,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “Now the president says, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.’ Well, I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.”
All that’s missing is the iPod. (Or, as Jay Carney, White House press secretary noted, “The only thing I didn’t see was a birther bill attached to it.”)
You know how this ends on TV: the cops wait out the bad guy, promising nothing, he’s eventually caught or killed. End of story.
Or, if you prefer another film genre, there’s this classic scene: