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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The recent proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to avert catastrophic default — and a mass defection by the business community from the Republican Party — by giving President Obama the power to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling has infuriated Republicans in the House of Representatives. (This is a caucus where Michele Bachmann, who famously said in her most recent advertisement that she “will. not. vote. to. raise. the. debt. ceiling.” under any circumstances, is a key member.). Here’s a selection of some of their responses, via Politico:

“I would say, ‘No way,’” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, whose members constitute roughly three-quarters of the House GOP.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) added his skepticism about McConnell’s plan. His issue: a commission that would tackle entitlements.

“Having been on the debt commission, I’m thinking very seriously about whether it’s a good idea,” Camp said before entering a House Republican Conference meeting.

“Everybody I’ve talked to over here says, ‘No way,’” said Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the vote-counting whip team.

The 2008 bailout vote — when a Republican refusal in the House to approve the $700 billion rescue plan for Wall Street sent the stock market plummeting — should give pause to anyone who thinks the GOP isn’t serious here. However, McConnell’s decision to back off from playing a game of chicken with the economy, which was clearly influenced by business lobbyists worried about the possibility of a default, is a sign that there are deep political forces dragging even the most intractable Republican negotiators from the edge. The problem is that the party’s Tea Party base aren’t negotiators — they’re ideologues.

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