Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boehner: ‘A Lot’ Of Republicans Want Default To Create Chaos

John McCain: Tea Party-Backed Lawmakers Making 'Foolish' Demands In Debt Ceiling Debate. Sen. John McCain, at times reading from a Wall Street Journal editorial during a floor speech on Wednesday, called tea party freshmen in Congress "tea party hobbits." The "hobbits" remark came from the Journal editorial, a reference to the little people of Middle-earth in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

In a Senate floor speech laced with sarcasm and stings, the Arizona Republican aimed especially harsh fire at the tea party Wednesday blasting as "bizarre" an idea supported by current GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, though McCain did not mention her by name. McCain said tea party conservatives' insistence that an increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied by a balanced budget amendment was "worse than foolish."
"The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama.... Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea party hobbits could return to Middle-earth having defeated Mordor."
McCain added, "And maybe some people who have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better." McCain did not mention which senators he was referring to. But also on Wednesday, Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, tea party boosters, joined many tea party activists who rallied on Capitol Hill demanding passage of the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan. Among other things, that proposal would cut total spending by $111 billion for fiscal year 2012 and require a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would cap total annual spending at 18 percent.

"This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees," he said, referring to the failed tea-party-backed candidates from Nevada and Delaware. "The reality is the debt limit will be raised one way or the other.... If conservatives defeat the [GOP] plan, they will not only undermine their House majority, they will go far to reelecting Mr. Obama and making entitlements that much harder to reform."

ThinkProgress: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering.
As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.

Speaking on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show this morning, Boehner agreed that failing to raise the limit before the deadline would be devastating, and said the “chaos” plan won’t work when asked by Ingraham what’s motivating the recalcitrant Republicans.
BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get past August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.
Boehner offers only political calculus for why this Tea Party plan wouldn’t work. He completely ignores the devastating effect a downgrade in U.S. debt and potential default would have on the American people and the global economy, who happen to be innocent bystanders to this high-stakes hostage negotiation.

Many on the left have been arguing all along that some Republicans are more interested in extorting concessions than addressing the debt issue, and are willing to blow up the economy if they don’t get their way — it’s refreshing, if troubling, to see that their leader agrees.

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