Just one day after unveiling a plan to link a lift in the debt ceiling to restoring cuts to military pensions, House Speaker John Boehner announced on Tuesday that he would push a “clean” debt ceiling increase. Under a “clean” bill, the nation’s debt ceiling would increase without any corresponding spending cuts or policy changes.
The new plan means Boehner likely will have to violate the long-standing “Hastert rule,” where only legislation that has support from a majority of the GOP caucus is brought up for a vote. The “clean” debt ceiling increase will require a majority of Democrat support for passage.
In recent weeks, the House GOP has discussed tying a debt ceiling increase to approval of the Keystone pipeline, changes to ObamaCare, or a restoration of the recently enacted cuts to military pensions. Those have been abandoned and the party is preparing to increase the nation’s debt with “no strings attached.”
Expecting a favorable electoral landscape in November, the GOP seems to be employing a “prevent defense,” avoiding all policy fights with the Administration. Presumably, the GOP will revisit major issues like ObamaCare and the budget after they expand their ranks in November. The flaw in this plan, however, is that it risks depressing the party’s base voters, negatively impacting turnout in the Fall.
With Obama’s approval ratings exploring new lows and the utter failure of ObamaCare, the Republicans are set for another historic election victory in November. That is, unless they blow it. The party seems to be flirting with that idea.