3 and out, puntWith the administration’s debt ceiling deadline fast approaching, House Republican leaders are considering a four-year debt limit increase that would take the issue off the table for the rest of President Barack Obama’s presidency.
The plan would, however, come at no easy price for Obama, who pledged as recently as Monday morning not to negotiate with Republicans on a debt ceiling hike. Republicans would demand major tax and entitlement changes — the latter of which has been anathema to many Democrats — and they could also ask for movement on the sequester and an expiring continuing resolution that must be dealt with in the next three months.
Still, the ultimate decision on which path to take will not be forged until the rank and file have their say at the full conference retreat, which starts Wednesday in Williamsburg, Va. It is a function of the decentralized power that Boehner holds: He sets the agenda, but it is up to his conference whether to accept it...The retreat’s theme of “One Conference, Many Voices,” belies just how wounded, fractured and lacking in direction the House Republican Conference is as it enters the 113th Congress. Boehner was rebuffed by his conference in attempts to pass deals to avert the fiscal cliff. And a few members went on to voice votes of no confidence when they tried to mount a coup against Boehner before he was re-elected to the speakership on Jan. 3.Must have thatLeadership members realize they have two years worth of legislation to manage, and at the leadership retreat, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia laid out some of the big-ticket legislation that must be reauthorized, such as a transportation bill and the No Child Left Behind education law.
The conference will also hear from conservative media figures such as Bill Kristol
Our boys and girls really need to mount up on this.Meanwhile, temporary debt limit patches might be just as unpalatable to Republicans, who could be open to primary challengers from the right in 2014, and who could rightly claim that members voted several times in a two-year span to raise the debt ceiling.
Some conservative members of the Republican Study Committee believe they should allow the country to pass over the debt limit because they remain skeptical of leadership’s dedication to reduced spending and believe reaching the debt limit would force the cuts immediately, rather than having to rely on cuts down the road, as they did with the 2011 debt limit deal.
“Frankly, it sounds like 2011 all over again. . . . A lot of our guys are just sick of that,” one conservative aide said. “I’m not entirely unconvinced that we’re not heading in the same direction.”
Offense time“Hitting the debt ceiling does not immediately trigger a default unless [Obama’s] administration fails to do its job and prioritize our debt payments. Default is not an option unless President Obama and his administration choose it to be,”