Sen. Mitch McConnell may have promised to govern responsibly but the GOP's incoming House Budget chair, Tom Price, is eager to once again use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to exact deep budget cuts. From the Wall Street Journal
Republican Tom Price, the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, said his party could demand steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling next year, the most provocative comments by a senior GOP member to date on how negotiations could play out.
The Georgia congressman, during an hour-long briefing with reporters Friday, said the expected mid-2015 debate over whether to raise or suspend the debt ceiling offered Republicans an opportunity to make a sizable imprint on government policy.
If by sizable he means obliterating the economy and disgracing America's standing in the global marketplace, yes, it could be sizable. Congress suspended the debt limit through March 15 of next year, but the Treasury Department has some wiggle room to continue making critical payments until about mid-summer.
McConnell, eager to establish Republicans as responsible stewards of the government in advance of 2016, had promised this would not be the GOP's M.O. upon assuming control of Congress next year.
‘‘There will be no government shutdown or default on the national debt,’’ he said, making clear he doesn’t agree with some tea party-backed lawmakers who have supported one or the other in the past — or may want to in the future.
That proclamation came the day after Republicans trounced Dems in the midterms. But Price hasn't gotten the memo, and come 2015, he will be in a position as chairman of the House Budget Committee to cause considerable consternation on the Hill.
Of course, MSNBC points out what happened last time Republicans threatened not to approve a debt ceiling increase.
"[T]he problem with this ridiculously dangerous and politically violent scheme is that President Obama has already said he won’t play the GOP’s game. Indeed, earlier this year, Republican leaders suggested they would once again hold the debt ceiling hostage, but the White House called their bluff and refused to pay any ransom.
Soon after, Republicans backed down, and a new precedent was set.
Still, message received. We have no idea which Republican Party is going to show up in 2015: McConnell's or that of Rep. Tom Price and Sen. Ted Cruz.