White House claims victory on debt ceiling

In the first White House press briefing of President Barack Obama’s second term, his top spokesman claimed that the administration had scored an early win over House Republicans in getting entitlement reform debate in the ongoing debt ceiling debate.

Asked Tuesday about the apparent agreement among House Republicans at their retreat last week to support a three-month extension of the debt ceiling, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that ???what we saw happen last week was significant, in our view.”

???The House Republicans made a decision to back away from the kind of brinksmanship that was very concerning to the markets, very concerning to business, very concerning to the American people,??? said Carney, ???[and] the simple proposition that they would insist on cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, in return for doing their job, paying their bills.???

In claiming victory in stopping any movement on entitlement reform insisted upon by many Republicans, Carney emphasized ???[t]hat was obviously something the president could not and would not support. That???s why he made clear he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling.???

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That the House Republicans apparently decided to move toward the three-month extension of the debt ceiling for now is, in Carney???s words, ???certainly something that we welcome.???

As to what to expect in the future if the debt ceiling extension is extended and revisited in two months, the White House press secretary said ???we take heart from the numerous statements by Republicans leading up to this decision, statements in which Republicans made clear that it was not the right thing to do to play chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States [and that] it was not the right thing to do to try to extract demands from the president of the Democratic Party [sic] in exchange for doing the responsible thing, which is paying the bills that you’ve already incurred.”

Carney added that when “[Texas Republican] Sen. [John] Cornyn or others say we will not default, period, we will not let that happen, we believe that???s true. And hopefully that will inform decisions made by Republicans in Congress going forward.”