"If they realize for sure that they're not going to have a negotiating partner, they'll have to find another route to bring the change that they want and they won't risk the full faith and credit of the United States. The only way they get leverage is when they think we might negotiate on those issues." he said. "There was a very sad moment in 2011 when that happened. And I think there's a strong consensus at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue among Democrats not to repeat what I would call -- I think what most of us would regard -- as a mistake."
Republicans feel burned after swallowing a deal that permits some $620 billion in tax hikes from current levels without any spending cuts. And they're raising the stakes for the debt limit fight, promising that they'll withhold their votes for lifting the ceiling unless Democrats agree to meaningful spending cuts, particularly on entitlement programs.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is preparing his members for the battle, telling them he'll insist on at least one dollar in spending cuts for each dollar of increase in the debt limit. Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said of Obama's refusal to negotiate: "Wishful thinking is not a solution."
Senate Republican leaders are working to draw Obama into the battle. In an op-ed for Yahoo News, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned that the president won't get any new tax increases after the fiscal cliff deal. In a Friday op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) warned that Republicans won't back off their demands.
"It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain," Cornyn wrote. "President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately."
TPM asked Schumer to respond to Cornyn's op-ed, to which he quipped: "Well, I haven't read my copy of the Houston Chronicle today."