Division over Debt Ceiling Deal Continues in House GOP Caucus

Via The HillConservatives denounce Boehner plan

“While I thank the Speaker for fighting for Republican principles, I cannot support the plan that was presented to House Republicans this afternoon,” [Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio] said.

Conservative lawmakers Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) also came out against Boehner’s plan.

Jordan argued that his leadership team should stand behind a measure that the House approved on a party-line vote last week — the “cut, cap and balance” bill that failed in the Senate.

The fundamental problem in the current negotiations continues to the fact that a significant segment of the House GOP caucus refuses to compromise.  I don’t know how else to evaluate this situation.  And yet, as DougJ at Balloon Juice notes, the stories about the situation are always couched in the language of “both sides.”

While I have no doubt that there is room for criticism of various actors at various times in this process (they are all, after all, politicians) but the locus of the recalcitrance is within the House Republican caucus.  I don’t know how anyone can honestly say otherwise.

For a run-down of the two sides on this, see Ezra Klein:

Originally, the Democratic position was that we should simply raise the debt ceiling. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that reduced the deficit by at least $2.4 trillion — which is the size of the debt ceiling increase needed to get us into 2013.

Then the Democratic position was that we should raise the debt ceiling through a deal that reduced the deficit by about $2.4 trillion, with $2 trillion of that coming from spending cuts and $400 billion coming from taxes. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that disavowed taxes.

Then the Democratic position was that we should raise the debt ceiling through a deal brokered by Barack Obama that reduced the deficit by $4 trillion, with about $3 trillion of that coming from spending cuts and about $1 trillion coming from tax increases. Republicans said “no.” There would have to be a deal that disavowed taxes, and it would have to be cut between the congressional leadership of the two parties. Obama couldn’t have this as a win.

That brings us to where we are now. John Boehner is proposing a deal with about $1 trillion in spending cuts and a short-term increase in the debt ceiling and a bipartisan congressional committee charged with developing a large deficit reduction package that would be immune to amendments and filibusters and would be the price of the next increase in the debt ceiling. Harry Reid is developing a package of spending cuts that Democrats could accept and would reach Boehner’s $2.4 trillion mark.

If you take the Republicans’ goals as avoiding a deal in which they have to vote for tax increases and denying Obama a political victory, it looks like they have succeeded. That success has come with costs — they’ve done themselves political damage, are risking a crisis that could do the economy tremendous harm, and have left the Bush tax cuts unresolved, which means they might end up watching taxes rise much higher than if they’d taken Obama’s offer — but it’s still been a success.

The question is, what happens if they don’t stop pushing?

Surely at some point they will stop pushing, but time is running out and that sentiment is feeling more and more like wishful thinking by the day.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. A voice from another precinct says:

    Hmmm…..no voices praising Boehner for his courageous stand against the machinations of the Islamomarxisocialist “Ohbumma” faction in the face of a full-out assault on the basics of American economic freedom?

    You seem to be losing your touch. Either that or the net IQ of the audience has risen 2 standards of deviation during the past couple of hours.

  2. Terrye says:

    I read something interesting at Instapundit. It seems that Boehner was a big hit last night. It might be that while some members of the conservative caucus and of course a lot of the pundits and talking heads are going to claim he betrayed the conservatives there will be others who think he has tried to come up with something that can work.

    I don’t know what will happen, but I think it is possible that in the long run everyone loses.