House Republicans are preparing to move to a new strategy around raising the nation’s debt ceiling, a plan that is already rankling some of the chamber’s most hardline conservatives.
As the Washington Post reported and House GOP aides confirmed, the Republican leadership is considering tying their long-held goal of tax reform to the next debt-ceiling hike, which will likely come up in September.
That marks a distinct shift from previous battles over the debt ceiling, in which Republicans demanded extensive spending cuts to domestic programs in exchange for a lift of the nation’s borrowing limit.
House Republicans figure that the new strategy will be more politically prudent. Tax reform polls well among voters, compared to spending cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
But two of the House’s most staunch conservatives — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) — suggested that they will not be willing to give up the leverage of the debt ceiling to extract cuts.
“It would be a tough thing for me to support,” King told Business Insider after attending a meeting of top conservatives in midtown Manhattan Monday. “I would not be thrilled with it as a deal. I do not like it.”
King and Broun cautioned that leadership hasn’t approached either of them about the strategy and that they would have to see specific details before determining whether they could support such a plan.
Both of the Congressmen have voted twice in the past two years against raising the debt ceiling, and were part of a group that killed House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” vote to avert the fiscal cliff in December. As such, they could provide a barometer for other House conservatives as the Republican leadership considers their new debt ceiling approach.
Broun, too, suggested that it would be a hard proposal for him to support.
“The debt ceiling is one of the only times where we can get the administration to come around” on spending cuts, Broun said.
Instead, Broun advocated an approach he has peddled over the past couple of years, including $155 billion in separate, “targeted” cuts that would slash funding for the TSA, the Energy Department, and the federal government’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
Broun also said he would like the House to continue to take up measures to de-fund the Affordable Care Act “at least once a month.”
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