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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Does the President's National Economic Adviser Not Know That Democrats Controlled Congress Last December?

Does the President's National Economic Adviser Not Know That Democrats Controlled Congress Last December?

Monday, 01 August 2011 10:23

He didn't seem to in his comments on CNN this morning. Gene Sperling, the head of President Obama's National Economic Council, explained the failure of President Obama to get a deal on the debt ceiling last December as being a problem of divided government. 

Actually, Democrats fully controlled both houses of Congress by large majorities at that time. It is possible that Republicans may have filibustered a debt ceiling deal in the Senate, but it is just wrong to say that we had divided government.

Reporters may want to ask Mr. Sperling if he was aware of the congressional line-up last December. It is probably more important to the country than getting to the bottom of Representative Weiner's twitter underwear pictures.

Comments (11)Add Comment
Clowns, clowns and more clowns!
written by Scott ffolliott, August 01, 2011 11:45
Clowns, clowns and more clowns- although it seems that these brilliant advisers are shaming the public with horseshit, it also seems that they also believe it too.
written by Anthony, August 01, 2011 11:52
Heh, Republicans "may" have filibustered a debt ceiling deal in the Senate. Republicans filibustered pretty much everything the rules allowed them to in the Senate, and you're kidding yourself if you think they might have done otherwise here. Government is divided anytime the Republicans have at least 40 senators and perceive an ounce of political advantage in obstruction.
Technicality, ctd.
written by Anthony, August 01, 2011 11:54
Math isn't my strong suit today; make that 41 senators, but the point stands.
The Catch with Our So-Called 'President'
written by Hugh Sansom, August 01, 2011 12:19
Democrats controlled Congress last December, but President Zero was operating on the Unwritten Constitutional Requirement for Super-Majority.

Every day I marvel that we have ended up with a Democratic president worse than George W. Bush.
Command and Control Now! - Git 'Er Done
written by izzatzo, August 01, 2011 1:05
Sperling obviously meant that the separation of powers designed under the Constitution - divided government - is the problem and until that is corrected with an explicit rather than implicit fascist political structure there will always be a problem getting things done.

Any economist knows that transactions costs are zero under centralized command and control.

Stupid liberals.
President Obama projected his "right-wing" self onto Congress at that time
written by Chris , August 01, 2011 7:40
You see, President Obama never believes that he has the majority. No matter what, he always has to negotiate. If there is no one to negotiate with, he negotiates with himself. After the election, when the Democrats had majorities in both houses, President Obama projected his right-wing self onto the legislature. He believed that the American people wanted divided government, even if they did not vote for it. Consequently, he negotiated, even though it was only himself he was negotiating with. So, in 2012, vote Obama! He's the negotiator who never stops negotiating, even when it's pointless! Thanks, Barrack!
Lacked supermajority in senate
written by jimo, August 01, 2011 8:05
Yes Dems had majority in congress but lacked a filibuster proof majority in the senate. That is why the health bill was only able to start the job towards a universal health system.
written by Ron Alley, August 01, 2011 10:30
Obviously, President Obama believed that negotiating with Democrats in Congress was not an appropriate challenge for a negotiator of his stature. He merely chose to wait until February so that he could hone his skills in negotiations with the Grand Old Tea Party.
Campaign preparation
written by John Puma, August 02, 2011 6:56
Dems campaigning for congressional seats in 2012 will have to explain why their party's nominee offered, without provocation, cuts to the wildly popular Soc Sec and Medicare programs.

After "President Pathological Bipartisanship" has gotten done with his party's congressional caucus, along with their own "Blue Dogs," their only plausible campaign slogan will be: "Give 90% majorities in both houses and MAYBE we can get something done!"

Or is that: " ... and MAYBE we can prevent the imminent national leap into the fascist abyss!"
written by jhand, August 02, 2011 1:50
Lack of experience, vision, foresight, and leadership. It's possible that the House tried to pass a debt ceiling bill last December, but I don't recall it happening. A House bill, accompanied by a Senate rejection, would have put the Dems on record, but they were--I guess--too afraid to offend somebody. It shows the same lack of vision that Bush displayed when he ignored 9/11 warnings, and later started a war because he could. Obama has shown us the same type of uninspired leadership that his predecessor showed over and over. He, Pelosi, Reid, and Biden should never have allowed their party to be backed into this corner in the first place, We are all paying for their lack of vision and leadership.
written by vinnie the p, August 03, 2011 12:23
I will never understand why Obama brought on board so many Clinton-era hacks (and Hillary advisers) such as Sperling, a big-business shill with little regards for working Americans.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.