They were pressured into accepting a tax hike with no real spending cuts in the first round of the fiscal cliff drama. So what kind of position is the Republican party in for the budget cutting side of the issue -- and the debt ceiling deadline?
With President Obama's Democrats controlling the Senate, the answer may surprise you, according to a Louisiana GOP Congressman John Fleming, as well as KTBS 3 Political Analyst Trey Gibson.
A government shutdown looms -- one that could mean another downgrade of the U.S.credit raiting, many government operations closed, and your income tax refund delayed. Just some of what could happen if Congress doesn't agree to raise the debt ceiling. Even though President Obama and Democrats appear to hold the high cards in Washington, Gibson suggests that the president may be bluffing.
"I don't think he wants to be seen as the first president to default on debt. And that's the position he's in," Gibson says.
Yet, Obama says he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling. He says Congress must pay for the bills it's run up. Meantime, the GOP says whatever amount they agree to raise the country's credit card limit, they want an equal amount of budget cuts. And House Republicans, like Fleming, are talking tough.
"He is going to have to deal with us when it comes to the debt ceiling because we view that as a lever. We feel like the tax discussion is now off the table." Fleming says. "There's nothing else to discuss but cutting spending."
But it hasn't stopped Democrats from saying they want more tax revenue. That's on top of the January 1st fiscal cliff tax hike on the top one percent, and the expiration of the payroll tax cut all wage earners now see on their checks. But that's why Fleming believes Americans will now side with the GOP.
"I don't think American people have stomach for that," Fleming says of the possibility of higher taxes.
Gibson says Obama's opponents should keep their budget message simple for voters.
"They all understand a house note. They all understand a credit card bill. And So I think the Republicans, if they can communicate their message a little bit better, then they can survive this better a little stronger than they did last one," Gibson said.
Fleming believes the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff budget cutting talks will merge into one big battle since their deadlines are so close together -- the end of next month. Republicans want to include entitlement reforms in the budget cutting.
Gibson expects another one of those last minute deals.