As they raced to flee the Capitol before an approaching snowstorm, some Republicans were not being too hard on themselves for capitulating and passing a “clean” debt ceiling bill, in the process ending a GOP precedent set to use such votes to enact spending cuts.
“I think what it shows is in the age of Obama, it’s clear he isn’t going to do a darn thing with this debt. I think he’s made that very clear that with this president we will not tackle this country’s fiscal problems,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told Breitbart News.
“The president refuses to negotiate. He has been irresponsible with spending He has the highest debt of any president in history and still refuses to work with Republicans to lower the drivers of our debt,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said.
“You know, ultimately, it was just the reality,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), “This issue had to be dealt with and that’s just the reality.” Johanns said he was proud to be the first Republican to vote to invoke cloture, providing a key GOP vote to overcome a 60-vote requirement. “I was happy to be the one and only vote, because it’s the right vote,” he said.
But if the Republicans were nonchalant about ending any aspirations of working their will against the wishes of President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, they at least pointed to a plan B – control of the Senate.
“I have great concern about where the debt is going….We gotta make sure we’re successful and we’ll need the Senate to achieve that,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told Breitbart News on Tuesday night.
“We’re going to have to make the case to get a new government,” Ryan said.
That’s not to say everyone was ok with surrender.
Rank and file vocal members of the House GOP conference seemed outraged that Republican leadership was handing over the strings of the federal budget to the president. Rep.Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) explained that while infighting among party members about the debt ceiling is “nothing new” raising the debt ceiling something that GOP members from the class of 2010 said they would not do.
“[GOP leadership was] complaining that the president is unilaterally implementing Obamacare irrespective of the law and here we are just just giving him a $700 billion increase in the nation’s credit card–for what? Simply because he asked? It looks like we’re turning over the floor to Nancy Pelosi,” Huelskamp said. “I’m worried about that. I wasn’t elected to wait until March of 2015 to do something. This is a $700 billion increase in the debt ceiling,” he added.
“They just stood up in conference and said this is what we’re gonna do and the other leaders acted surprised, but it’s the whole leadership team. It’s been their approach. We’ve got a blue state leadership team and we’ve got some folks who would like us to stand up to the president and do something,” Huelskamp said.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) agreed with Huelsakamp, saying, “I’m just sick and tired of spending what we don’t have. For example, Afghanistan. We continue to spend billions of dollars and most of the money is borrowed and instead of helping the American people, we end up helping a crook known as Karzai. I think this is just another example of the leadership not listening to the rank and file.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) argued that Congress should not have extended the debt ceiling for as long as it already did. “It should should have been shortened, so we could have had two or three bites of the apple between now and the election in my opinion, because that means it is off the table well into next year.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who voted against cloture, said the clean debt ceiling increase was a “missed opportunity to do something fiscally.”
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), however, offered a contrary take, telling Breitbart News he supported raising the debt ceiling in principle. “The Ryan budget runs a deficit that requires increasing the debt [limit]. The appropriations passed only a few weeks ago spends money requires an increase in the debt limit. This vote is consistent with those two earlier votes that were done by and with Republicans.”