Republicans Not Sold on Boehner’s Debt-Ceiling Plan

House Speaker John Boehner, center, and GOP leaders finish a news conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 26, 2013, after a closed-door strategy session.
National Journal
Tim Alberta
Sept. 26, 2013, 7:25 a.m.

Speak­er John Boehner at­temp­ted Thursday morn­ing to sell House Re­pub­lic­ans on a debt-ceil­ing plan that would delay the im­ple­ment­a­tion of Obama­care, jump­start the Key­stone Pipeline, and in­tro­duce oth­er con­ser­vat­ive re­forms in hopes of unit­ing the GOP con­fer­ence ahead of tough votes on the con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion and debt-ceil­ing.

But re­ac­tion from mem­bers was mixed, at best.

“We shouldn’t even be talk­ing about the debt-ceil­ing un­til we get [the Sen­ate] to vote on a good CR for Amer­ica,” fumed Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who plans to vote against the debt-ceil­ing bill when it hits the floor, which could hap­pen as soon as Fri­day.

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said he was un­de­cided on the debt-lim­it pack­age, even though “it def­in­itely has a lot of good­ies in it.” Brooks ad­ded: “It does not cut spend­ing and does not solve the prob­lem.”

Asked if it could pass the House, Brooks replied, “In my judg­ment, no.”

Oth­ers Re­pub­lic­ans, though, were more op­tim­ist­ic. Rep. Tom Price of Geor­gia, who has been work­ing with lead­er­ship to craft a com­pre­hens­ive strategy to deal with the CR and debt-ceil­ing fights, said mem­bers seemed sat­is­fied that Boehner’s pro­pos­al meets the cri­ter­ia they have long de­man­ded for a debt-ceil­ing in­crease.

“It meets the Boehner Rule — any in­crease is met by dol­lar-for-dol­lar de­crease in spend­ing as well as re­forms,” Price said. “It will delay Obama­care for a year. … And it keeps the House mov­ing in a dir­ec­tion where the Sen­ate has to re­spond, which is im­port­ant.”

But does it have enough sup­port to pass the House? “I think so, yeah,” Price said.

Rep. Kev­in Brady of Texas agreed, say­ing con­ser­vat­ives should rally be­hind the Boehner plan. “We should be uni­fied in bring­ing this debt-ceil­ing pro­pos­al out of the House,” said Brady, not­ing that the pack­age in­cludes “very strong, pro-growth policies that will help re­duce the de­fi­cit.”

Brady said of a po­ten­tial floor vote Fri­day: “There should be more than 218.”

The pro­spect of a quick floor vote, however, did not sit well with un­de­cided Re­pub­lic­ans like Rep. Jim Briden­stine of Ok­lahoma. “I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what lead­er­ship puts on the table,” he said. “I think there’s a lot more to be dis­cussed.”

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas agreed: “I have de­cided not take a po­s­i­tion as of yet,” he said. “I want to hear more.”

Mean­while, con­ser­vat­ive lead­ers wouldn’t bite when asked wheth­er the debt-ceil­ing pro­pos­al has the votes to pass.

“You must con­fuse me with the whip,” said a smil­ing Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Pressed to ana­lyze the sup­port with­in his con­fer­ence for Boehner’s plan, Hensarling re­peated three times: “I ex­pect Re­pub­lic­ans to be united.”

Even Rep. Steve Scal­ise, chair­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, seemed un­cer­tain of wheth­er Boehner’s present­a­tion had won over a suf­fi­cient num­ber of con­ser­vat­ives. “We’re go­ing to find out,” he said. “You’ll have to ask the whip.”

Shane Gold­mach­er con­trib­uted to this re­port.

What We're Following See More »
LEGACY PLAY
Sanders and Clinton Spar Over … President Obama
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”

THE 1%
Sanders’s Appeals to Minorities Still Filtered Through Wall Street Talk
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”

DIRECT APPEAL TO MINORITIES, WOMEN
Clinton Already Pivoting Her Messaging
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
19 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
×