The GOP's debt-ceiling maneuver

Congressional Republicans have called President Obama's bluff. You don't have to agree with them on any fiscal policy to know they made a shrewd move in dragging the president to the table in the debt-ceiling negotiations.
 
When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) bailed on the debt talks led by Vice President Biden on Thursday, much was made over the fact that he hadn't informed House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he was doing so, and some concluded Cantor wanted to inoculate himself against any deal that included tax hikes. There was another dust-up over whether disagreements arose on taxes alone or the question of defense cuts as well, with House Republicans insisting the talks broke down solely over the Democrats' insistence on new taxes.
 
Boehner backed up Cantor on the tax issue, stating that a deal that raised tax increases won't pass the House. He declared any agreement to raise the debt ceiling must include spending cuts larger than the increase itself as well as budget reforms and that the deal cannot raise taxes. "If the president wants this done, he must lead," Boehner said.
 
Now the president has agreed to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday morning and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday evening, and White House press secretary Jay Carney said "we believe that we can move forward as long as no one in the talks takes a my-way-or-the-highway approach."
 
That, of course, is what Republicans are doing. Let's see what tax hikes the president recommends and how it goes over with Republicans. No word yet on whether POTUS will meet with Boehner. But Obama is at the table now, not because he wanted to be, but because Republicans dragged him there. And it is where he should be.
 

IN THE END, WILL THE DEBT-CEILING PACKAGE TOUCH MEDICARE OR TAXES? Ask A.B. returns Tuesday, June 27. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.