This is nothing really new. The conservatives will pick a subject and then decide that this will be their Waterloo. This is where they draw the line. They shut down the government with this tactic during the Clinton administration. They were able to make the healthcare reform bill significantly more conservative with this tactic. Well, as it turns out, they aren’t going to spend any more money. The debt ceiling is their new line in the sand. Let’s see how this plays out politically. I think that it will sink the Republicans, who always seem to overplay their hand.
From Political Animal:
In mid-November, after the dust had settled from the midterm elections, incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) acknowledged that he’s well aware of the fact that his chamber is going to have to extend the federal debt limit. He noted that’s already “made it pretty clear” to his own caucus that Republicans are “going to have to deal with it as adults.”
Boehner added, “Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”
Dealing with the debt limit “as adults” doesn’t appear to be going well. This morning, two right-wing lawmakers — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (R-Minn.) — reiterated their opposition to raising the debt limit on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Soon after, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that failing to raise the debt ceiling “would be very bad for the position of the United States in the world at large.” Graham, however, quickly followed that by saying he’s prepared to hold the debt limit hostage “until a plan is in place” for the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges that meets his satisfaction.
So much for dealing with this “as adults.”
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, doesn’t sound pleased with the direction of Republican rhetoric.
The chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said today it would “insanity” for Congress to refuse to lift the nation’s debt ceiling, and that inaction would be “catastrophic” for the nation’s financial recovery.
“This is not a game,” CEA chairman Austan Goolsbee told Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week. “The debt ceiling is not something to toy with.”
Think Progress adds more to this discussion:
Over the past few weeks, several Republicans have followed the Tea Party’s lead in declaring that they will vote against any increase in the national debt ceiling. Today, on Meet the Press, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) drew a thick line in the sand, declaring, “I’m not going to vote for a debt ceiling increase unless we go back to 2008 spending levels, cutting the discretionary spending.”
On ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will responded to Republican opposition to raising the national debt ceiling and the threat it poses to the fiscal solvency of the nation:
I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it.
The trouble is it’s suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority. Because if the United States defaults on its sovereign debt, the markets will be — well, it will be stimulating.