If there is any agreement on fiscal issues in Washington it is that we must do something about the growing debt and long-term unfunded liabilities. With the debt exploding by over $6.6 trillion under Obama’s watch, the only leverage conservatives had to force a path to balance the budget was the debt ceiling – a built-in check on runaway spending. Yet, ever since they took over Congress in 2011, establishment Republicans have worked to abolish the debt ceiling.
Moving forward, Republicans have now set a precedent in which the debt ceiling will now be something that must be avoided instead of something we can embrace. With Obama’s record growth of the federal debt and his past statements against raising the debt ceiling, this is precisely the issue to bludgeon him with before an election. But, alas, that opportunity has been lost. All of Boehner’s talk about “the Boehner Rule,” which called for dollar-for-dollar cuts, was lost the day he adopted Obama’s false talking point about default on debt.
What is even more disturbing about the vote to pass the debt ceiling is how many members lacked the courage to vote their convictions. Isn't it amazing how just enough Republicans voted for it in order for the bill to pass, allowing all but 28 members a free hall pass for their reelection? Even pure liberal like Mike Simpson (R-ID) voted against it for the first time. According to Roll Call, today's debt ceiling vote had "the fewest number of votes from a majority on a bill that passed the House since at least 1991."
So here is a direct challenge to all those free-riders who implemented their ‘hope yes, vote no’ policy today. If you really oppose raising the debt ceiling and appreciate the long-term damage from Boehner’s policy, why not call for a new leadership election immediately? There is no middle ground. If you really opposed this deal, it is simply egregious that the sitting Republican leader would pass it with Democrat support. This is the seventh time Boehner has done so over the past year. It only takes about 50 members to call for a leadership election. Now is the time to put up or shut up.
Yet, if you only voted no for political expedience, you are probably just fine with what the Speaker has done today. It’s time to come out of the shadows and document yourselves.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell is reverting back to his comfort zone of declining to take a strong position on the bill until the outcome is no longer in jeopardy, in which case he will undoubtedly vote no.
We must remember that nothing will change with a GOP-controlled Senate unless we elect new leadership. Democrats already know these guys are terrified of the debt ceiling. So what will happen next March?
The same thing.
They will pass bad bills with Democrats support, all the while ensuring that those with primary challengers are given a pass to vote the right way – for political purposes not principle.
This is just one more reason why we need to A) win the upcoming primaries and B) force new leadership elections. If we fail on both of those accounts all our hard work towards building a GOP majority will go towards the empowerment of Democrat policies.