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July 14th, 2011 10:23 pm
Boehner Already Softening on Debt Ceiling Sell-Out
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In a commentary published earlier this week, I chastised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his “escape hatch” debt ceiling plan, which would allow President Obama to unilaterally raise the nation’s credit limit while giving Republicans the political cover of being allowed to vote against him. It would be a perfectly reasonable strategy if the imperative issue of the moment was GOP political tactics. It’s not, however. Rather, the issue of paramount significance is the nation’s economic future. By that measure, the McConnell plan — which allows more of the same limitless spending — is an utter failure.

In that same column, I praised Speaker of the House John Boehner’s resoluteness, as indicated by his holding the line against the president’s proposed tax increases. Yet only a few days later, the speaker already seems to be going wobbly. According to Politico:

Speaker John Boehner on Thursday left the door open to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s last-ditch plan to raise the debt limit.

“I think it’s worth keeping on the table,” Boehner said.

McConnell’s plan would give President Barack Obama the power to raise the debt ceiling three times through 2012, unless Congress stops it with a two-thirds majority vote. Under that plan, Republicans could vote against raising the debt ceiling without risking default.

Shame on Boehner. Republicans have every right to look out for their political needs, but they must also work tirelessly to protect what’s left of the American economy. Obama’s “grand bargain” (flush with tax increases) meets neither standard. McConnell’s punt only satisfies the first.

Instead, Republicans should pass a debt ceiling increase relying solely on spending cuts. It would serve our economic needs by cutting the size of government and staving off fears of a default. And it would serve the GOP’s political needs by ensuring that a crisis could only come courtesy of Obama’s veto pen.

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