The White House has been using doomsday language like "Armageddon," "catastrophic" and " calamitous" over the last few weeks to describe what will happen if the nation's debt ceiling isn't raised. President Obama has even put doubt in the minds of those receiving Social Security checks, saying he isn't sure if they would get their checks after August 2nd if Congress doesn't act.
This week, the White House is raising fear with a new talking point. Obama Administration officials are now saying the House Republican plan on the debt and deficit could ruin Christmas by depressing the 2011 holiday buying season. Members of the administration are hinting if House Speaker John Boehner has his way, the next round of debt negotiations could throw into doubt whether or not the United States is going to go into default around Christmas.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters the GOP plan would force the nation to endure the same debt drama in 6 months. "The reason why we talk about the holiday season is because as constructed now, the measure that the speaker of the House has put forward would almost certainly require...all of us to go through this again before the end of the year, in the most important economic season in the country," said Carney.
The president's communications advisor Dan Pfeiffer echoed the holiday theme via Twitter. "Happy Holidays America," Pfeiffer tweeted. "Boehner plan would have the debt ceiling all over again during the holiday season, which is critical for the economy."
The White House is against what they have dubbed the "Boehner Bill" which would raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion. This would last only until the end of the year.
But Mr. Obama wants to ensure the ceiling is raised through 2013 which some speculate as a purely political move -- so the president won't have to deal with the debt again until after the 2012 presidential election. The White House disputes that idea and says the reason is strictly economical. "Our objection is to any proposal that puts us through this three-ring circus again in a short period of time," Carney said. "It's already had a significant negative impact on the economy."
Although Democrats have said the GOP plan is "dead on arrival" and will not pass the Senate, the White House seems to be dramatizing the possibility of the prospect of a Christmas do-over in hopes that they'll turn the public sentiment against the Republican plan. Carney asked rhetorically, "If we care about the economy, how could that possibly be the answer?"
But if this debate were to spark up again at the end of the year, this wouldn't be the first time an important debate took place during the holiday season. In 2009, the Senate took a historic vote and passed the health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve.