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Debt Limit Dangers

A tricky negotiation for House Republicans.

Jun 20, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 38 • By FRED BARNES
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But one stone hard fact remains: There will be an increase in the debt limit. True, Obama needs it more than Republicans do. But they don’t want to risk an economic plunge either. Republicans can pass a short-term increase (with a dollop of spending cuts) if Obama resists. What they’ll never get is outright surrender by the White House.

That takes us back to the trouble ahead. I suspect the Republican base, stiffened by the Tea Parties, isn’t attuned to the necessities of a divided Washington. Polls have shown conservatives, young and old, rich and middle-class, strongly preferred a government shutdown to the stopgap spending bills, with cuts, enacted earlier this year.

A hike in the debt limit—even with cuts, curbs, and caps to which Obama has agreed—will be harder still for conservative Republicans to swallow. And dreams and reality will clash.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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