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Politics

Congressional Insiders Split on Debt Ceiling

May 26, 2011

The strength of the Republican consensus was underscored by the comments of individual GOP Members. "Raising taxes to pay for more reckless spending is a non-starter," said one Republican Congressional Insider. Echoed another, "We aren't raising taxes in the House--period."

It's clear that some Republicans believe they maintain the upper hand in the political debate over the budget. "Obama agreed to take taxes off the table until the end of 2012 in December of last year," noted one GOP Insider. "Why would Republicans let him put them back on the table now?" Added another, "No tax increases is the one constant in the Republican Conference right now; [I'm] not sure the White House realizes how unifying this vote will be for the House majority."

Most Democrats refused to concede the budget battle to the GOP. "The Republicans need to face reality," said one Democratic Congressional Insider who predicted that a third of any deficit reduction package would come from revenue increases. Another, who was even more bullish, said that at least half of any package will come from additional tax receipts. "The deficit will be addressed mostly through revenue growth," noted the Democrat. "That has always been the way the deficit has been reduced, and it always will be."

But other Democrats were not so confident and one-fifth of those who responded thought Republicans would get their way with no revenue increases in a deal over the debt ceiling. "It should be half, but won't be, as Republicans won't put tax expenditures on the table," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. Another simply lamented, "President Obama will not hold firm."

The National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll is a regular survey of Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

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