'Fiscal cliff' political fight heats up as NRCC enters fray

The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a press release to the districts of 56 Democrats asking if the lawmaker in question will "sponsor Obama's blank check proposal."

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has suggested Obama adopt a proposal in the fiscal-cliff negotiations, first proposed last year by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), that would give the president power to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling unilaterally, with Congress able to block it with the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.

The release charges that "President Obama has led the country into a cycle of out of control spending and imploding debt — and now he wants a blank check to keep raising the nation’s debt limit whenever he wants."

"So will John Barrow sponsor Obama’s big spending plan and bring it up for a vote?" it reads in Georgia's 12th District.

Barrow was one of the few Blue Dog Democrats — and one of the few Democrats in the South — to survive this past election cycle, and it's clear the lawmaker, who represents a redrawn district that favors a Republican, will again be a top target for the GOP in 2014.

The NRCC's releases on the debt limit are the first bomb they've thrown in the fiscal-cliff fight thus far, aside from a petition launched last week, coming after two weeks of attacks from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on taxes and sequestration cuts.

The DCCC issued its own releases and launched robocalls to the districts of 35 House Republicans it sees as vulnerable, and on Wednesday released its first paid radio and Web advertising of the cycle in 21 districts.

Six House Republicans — Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), John Kline (Minn.), Tom Latham (Iowa), Dan Webster (Fla.) and Gary Miller (Calif.) — are targeted with Web ads that feature a car driving off a cliff.

"A middle-class tax cut is on the table. But Tea Party House Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to get more tax cuts for millionaires. This holiday season, if you make only one phone call, send only one email, tell Congressman Gary Miller: Don't send us off the cliff," says the narrator.

The radio ads, which will run in another 15 districts, offer essentially the same message.

It's clear that neither party will let the political potency of these negotiations slip through their hands going forward, and that the issues hashed out in December of this year will play a large role in November of 2014.

Watch the DCCC's ad below:


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