Democrats and Republicans are engaged in another round of high-stakes brinksmanship over a bipartisan NCAA Tournament pool proposed by President Obama. The president invited Congressional members of both parties to join his pool with a $50 buy-in, but Republicans are demanding cuts that would make the buy-in only $20.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Republicans' demands threaten the entire pool with the NCAA Tournament set to begin.
"This shouldn't be as difficult as they are making it," said Carney. "The buy-in is set by the person running the pool. That's how it always has been. But they want to hold the entire pool hostage. We have no idea how many people are in the pool now or what the pay-outs will be. It's irresponsible. Other nations are looking at this debate over our tournament pool and laughing at us. It's time to do what's right and join."
Speaker of the House John Boehner said he is not willing to budge on paying only $20 to join.
"Fifty dollars to join the pool is ridiculous," said Boehner. "If everyone joins at just twenty, the pay-outs to the winners will still be sufficient, plus people will have enough money to join other pools if they want to. We don't want to be beholden to the president's pool. We want tournament pool freedom."
President Obama stressed today at a rally to gain support for his tournament pool that each party has fundamental disagreements over NCAA Tournament pools.
"I think we all need to invest a little bit to get something back," he said. "With a $50 buy-in, the people who place in the money can get some real money that can make a real difference in their lives. I was in a $50 pool last year with and the guy who won got a 60-inch flatscreen. It's awesome. A bunch of other people placed in the money, too. Whereas the Republicans want just a few people to finish in the money. It's not right."
Republicans deny claims that the reason they are unwilling to pay more into a Tournament pool this year is because their beloved SEC teams are terrible.
"That is an absurd claim," said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "If Robert Morris was in the NCAA Tournament I might worry about the chances of SEC teams, but I think they will do just fine."