Budget Battle threatens Obama Second-Term Goals
President Barack Obama will confront Congress again just after the recently completed fiscal cliff battle. The fight on the budget will curtail the president’s second-term agenda and limit his goals on priorities such as gun control and immigration.
President Obama pledged to go ahead with other legislative priorities during the budget negotiations but it looks like the Republicans will push them aside as the deadlines approach on federal borrowing that could lead to government spending cuts. The deadline is the end of March.
The president and Congress must agree on increasing the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling of the nation, passage of a bill to fund the government after the short term measure expires, and the fate of $85 billion in the postponed automatic spending cuts. These looming budget battles are expected to be more intense than the fiscal cliff fight that ended last New Year’s Day with an agreement to increase taxes on the wealthy. The resulting measure left the Republicans wanting revenge and fractured the relationship between President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
The fiscal cliff has been the focus of the White House for the past two months. It cuts the president’s time to achieve all his goals for his second term. Republicans could focus on all the budget issues so that the president could not work on the other issues.
President Obama pledged to pursue a broad second term agenda based on comprehensive immigration reform, fighting climate change, improve domestic energy production, and gun control. Just after the fiscal cliff battle, the president said that he would not curtail his agenda because of the upcoming budget battles.
Republicans are prepared for the looming fight. They believe they have more leverage against the president than during the fiscal cliff battle. Failure to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling could mean a default on the nation’s debt and another downgrade in the credit rating of the US.