On Thursday, House Republicans released the outline of a bill to raise the debt ceiling that included what an analyst
described as a “Dear Santa” wish list of conservative priorities. It also led a senior White House adviser to
cast Republicans as suicide bombers, arsonists, and kidnappers.
When asked, an aide to House Speaker John Boehner wouldn’t offer specifics Thursday on some of the proposals in the debt-ceiling bill. That was because the proposal was still int he works — and because, later in the day, it blew up in the face of House Republican leadership.
Conservative House Republicans pushed back against the plan. And by the end of the day, leadership at least temporarily shelved the plan and, according to Politico, could wait a week before bringing anything back to consider.
This wasn’t as public a blow up as some of leadership’s past failures, such as the failed 2011 debt-ceiling vote and the “Plan B” gambit leading up to the fiscal cliff last December.
But it underscores, yet again, how much trouble leadership will have in satisfying the demands of the most conservative members of their party while also producing a winning strategy. In this case, House conservatives didn’t like the plan because they didn’t think it sufficiently tackled entitlement reform.
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) told The Hill that the plan “doesn’t address the debt.” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he wanted the debate over funding the government to conclude before lawmakers tackle the debt ceiling. That led Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), an ally of Boehner and member of the GOP whip team, to conclude that leadership didn’t yet have the votes.
The path forward on raising the debt ceiling remains a complete mystery. The government-shutdown fight still will take some time to resolve. The Senate will likely pass a “clean” version of the continuing resolution on Friday, but Boehner said he will likely not look to pass it through the House without adding some amendments.
Meanwhile, even if leadership did round up enough votes for the debt-ceiling bill, the Senate and President Barack Obama have flatly said that they will reject it.
Reminder: The debt-ceiling needs to be raised by Oct. 17 — 20 days.
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