Capitol Capitulation: GOP lays down on Debt Ceiling


It has long been the policy of Tea Party Patriots, at the advice and consent of Local Coordinators and State Coordinators across the nation, to oppose any and all debt ceiling increases. However, many of our allies and supposed allies in Congress may already be folding on the issue, months ahead of reaching the next debt ceiling:

At a two-hour listening session Wednesday afternoon in the basement of the Capitol, rank-and-file lawmakers offered suggestions for handling an event that, in 2011, blew their approval ratings to smithereens.

The good news: This time around, most GOP lawmakers agree that they probably should not block a debt-limit increase, halt Treasury borrowing and let the government default on its obligations. According to GOP aides who attended the meeting, the “hell no” caucus appears to be radically diminished.

The bad news for President Obama: Republicans will demand some kind of prize for voting to raise the debt limit, preferably some policy that serves to reduce the debt. They say they will not simply roll over again, as they did in January when they voted without much fuss to suspend enforcement of the debt limit through this [past] weekend.

Side note: observe the prime case of media bias. The allegedly unbiased reporter, Lois Montgomery, phrased the discussions in terms of “good news” being more debt piled on, and “bad news” in context to President Obama’s goals instead of what’s good for the country.

Side note 2: Montgomery uses the liberal talking point to claim hitting the debt ceiling would be a default on our debt. This is not true. Not paying interest on the our debt would cause a default – but federal revenues are approximately 5 times the size of the interest payments the Treasury Department will make in Fiscal Year 2013.

But I digress. One of the most powerful Republicans in the House has already said holding a hard line won’t happen:

“It’s pretty clear we’re not going to do that. That one, I can guarantee you,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said as he left the meeting, en route to the swearing-in on the House floor of former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R), who won a special election for a House seat last week.

The range of ideas is pretty broad:

At the meeting, 39 lawmakers lined up at microphones to offer suggestions. They ranged from tax and entitlement reform to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to passage of a bill that would require congressional approval for any federal regulation that would impose more than $100 million in new costs on business.

At least one person wanted to take on late-term abortion in the wake of the murder conviction of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. Others suggested repeal or delay of Obama’s health-care initiative. But for the most part, lawmakers tried to be “realistic,” aides said, suggesting measures that could reasonably be expected to both improve the economy and pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

By and large, these proposals are ones Tea Party activists have supported in the past on their own merit. Entitlement and tax reform, for example, are absolutely critical to the long-term fiscal and economic health of the country.

However, none of these is worth exchanging for trillions of dollars in debt. It would be one thing if the House GOP would hold hard on large cuts in spending to be implemented in the 2014 Fiscal Year, which starts on October 1. They could also exchange a debt ceiling hike would be in for a full repeal of Obamacare or significant tax reform. Raising the debt ceiling would still be wrong, but at least legitimate changes in policy would be in place.

Instead, the House GOP is choosing “None of the Above.”. By and large, they’re looking at long-term implementation of entitlement reform or tax reform, or delaying of Obamacare, or other unworthy ideas. While there is no consensus, according to Montgomery, this is indicative of a lack of a willingness by the House GOP to commit to real policy changes now, not years in the future.

Furthermore, let’s not forget what happened to sequestration a mere 16 months after it was put into law – the same Congress that passed it delayed it. So trusting Congress for anything “long-term” is a bad bet.

Once again, the House’s promises to the Tea Party and conservatives fall short of reality.