For some time now it has been apparent that there is a growing division within the Republican party with the Tea Party Republicans digging in their heels and demanding ever more conservative legislation while the more mainstream party members attempt to find a middle ground which the Democrats will accept. John Boehner has been unable to gain any control over them to attain any kind of compromise on anything.
In a recent statement to Washington Post reporter Robert Costa a Boehner supporter summed that division up neatly.
[box type=”shadow”]“Right now, Jesus himself couldn’t be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that,” said Representative Patrick J. Tiberi (R-OH). “Whatever we move, there will be critics everywhere, but at the end of the day we still have to govern.”[/box]
Boehner added his own take in a similar vein at a press conference on Thursday when he spoke of the possibility of getting a “clean” debt ceiling bill.
“Mother Theresa is a saint now, but if we wanted to attach that to the debt ceiling, we probably couldn’t get 218 votes,” he said.
The Speaker thinks that he may have found an issue that can draw enough votes from both sides of the aisle now that it is clear that the two items which Republicans had hoped to tie to the debt ceiling legislation, the XL pipeline and the repeal of the “risk corridors” provision of Obamacare, are dead on arrival.
He is now proposing linking a partial restoration of cuts made to benefits for retired military personnel made in the budget agreement in exchange for supporting a one year extension on the debt ceiling. It is hoped that this is something that can garner support on both sides.
This plan is beginning to look promising with several GOP members of the House saying that they can support this compromise.
“I’d support it in a heartbeat,” said Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO). “We need to figure this thing out, and that’s a way to do it.”
The proposal is even drawing some support from Tea Party favorites such as Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
“There is a pragmatism here,” she said. “You’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. My assessment is that most of us don’t think it’s the time to fight.”
While there is still some resistance from Democrats it is expected that some will join Republicans in support of the measure and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to bring forward a bill proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) which would restore those cuts as well.
The one thing that Republicans do not seem to want is another confrontation which threatens to shut the government down before the elections this fall. They saw their approval numbers go into free fall last fall when the government was shut down due to the debt ceiling debate and do not want a repeat so close to the mid-term elections.
h/t: Business Insider