In a new line of attack against the GOP's two-step plan for raising the debt limit, the White House is emphasizing specific damages that a second debate over the nation's borrowing limit might inflict on the American economy - particularly during the holiday season.
"Happy Holidays America: Boehner plan would have the debt ceiling all over again during the holiday season, which is critical for the economy," wrote White House deputy spokesman Dan Pfeiffer in a Thursday morning Tweet.
The Republican-led House will vote Thursday on the House Republican proposal, which would increase the U.S. borrowing limit by up to $900 billion while cutting more than $900 billion in spending over the next decade. CBS news estimates that a $900 billion increase to the debt limit would take the country into early January - which would mean that debate over the issue would likely take place over the holiday season in late December.
"It's like the debt ceiling debate that would ruin Christmas," said White House political adviser David Plouffe in a Thursday morning appearance on MSNBC. "It makes no sense. It's harming our economy now. You would have this hanging over the country at one of the most economically important periods in our country around the holiday season."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney echoed that sentiment during his daily press briefing on Thursday.
"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 this -- all of us to go through this again before the end of the year, in the most important economic season in the country, and at a time when people don't want to worry about whether or not their interest rates are going to go up, their mortgage payments and their car payments and their student loan bills, and their credit card payments, especially as they're buying gifts for the holidays," he said. "I mean, if we care about the economy, how could that possibly be the answer? It's not. So we are opposed to that for economic reasons; not political reasons, for economic reasons."
While the holiday season certainly represents an important short-term boost for the American economy, political considerations may also be at play: the Iowa caucuses - the nation's first primary contest of the 2012 election season - would likely take place within weeks of a January vote over increasing the debt ceiling.
Republicans have repeatedly accused the president of looking out for his political self-interest in refusing a short-term deal.
"The only thing in this bill that the president hasn't already expressed his support for, either publicly or privately, is that it doesn't get him through his election without having to engage in another national discussion about the debt crisis that's brought us to this point," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday.
"Do they really intend to suggest that he veto the nation into default for political reasons?" he continued. "That's how I read the threat."
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Carney dismissed that angle, emphasizing that "this is not a question of who it helps or hurts politically."
"You could argue... this fight is good [for Democrats] politically, but it's bad for the economy," he added.