Last week, John Boehner finally stood up and told the TEA party members of his caucus, “enough.” He alluded that he was no longer going to allow them to call the shots in the House as they have for the last three years.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that his outburst has had a lot of effect on those who may face primary challenges from even more conservative candidates if they go along with any kind of compromise. In the Senate, the same scenario seems to be unfolding.
Mitch McConnell, facing a primary challenge himself from candidates calling him “too liberal,” has suggested that he is prepared to hold the debt limit hostage to gain as yet undefined concessions from the President and Senate Democrats.
“I doubt if the House or, for that matter, the Senate is willing to give the president a clean debt ceiling increase. Every time the president asks us to raise the debt ceiling is a good time to try to achieve something important for the country,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
“I think the debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together and gets the president’s attention, which with this president, particularly when it comes to reducing spending, has been a bit of a challenge,” he added.
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee made similar remarks on Sunday when he said, “We as a caucus — along with our Senate counterparts — are going to meet and discuss what it is we’re going to want out of the debt limit. We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we’re going to accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”
Harry Reid responded to these threats saying, “I can’t imagine the Republicans want another fight on debt ceiling. We’ve passed two debt ceilings in the very recent past, and we should do another one.”
While it would seem to be common sense not to repeat the folly of bringing the nation to the brink of default as they did in October considering the negative blow back that Republicans experienced at that time, there is considerable pressure from far right activists who are threatening to primary any politician who they deem to be “not conservative enough.”
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that while the current extension of the debt ceiling is scheduled to expire on February 7, there is no way to say definitely this far in advance when we will actually hit that ceiling, going on to say that it’s a better idea to raise it well before.
“The right answer is they should just extend the debt limit way in advance and not have any sense of crisis at all. I hope that will happen. You know, they set Feb. 7 as the day when the debt limit expires. We do have extraordinary measures [that] last about a month after that. So yeah, they have some time,” Lew said.
h/t: Huffington Post