Politics

GOP Split on Raising Debt Ceiling

| by Reason Foundation

By Josh Brokaw

The rebellion by congressional Republicans against the party leadership doesn't seem likely to stop with yesterday's PATRIOT Act vote. In his CPAC speech this morning, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) continued to beat the drum for stopping the growth of the national debt. Calling a vote to raise the debt ceiling “the most irresponsible” thing Congress could do, Toomey isn't letting this debate peter out without a fight.

This excerpt from Toomey's hometown paper, the Allentown Morning Caller, sums things up:

The possibility of default is the Obama administration's strongest case for raising the debt limit before it's reached this spring.

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Some economists agree with Toomey that not raising the debt limit doesn't have to mean the U.S. would default, because there is enough money to pay off debt if other spending cuts are made. But other economists say it would force too many cuts at important federal agencies.

Over half the GOP senators have signed on to Toomey's debt-capping amendment, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has studiously avoided the question while Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has admitted the ceiling will be going up. In his talk this morning, McConnell offered a string of red meat platitudes—he even mentioned Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as part of the great, new team that will take on spending and the debt, despite his displeasure with Paul's stance on Henry Clay. And one of the big applause lines was "bucking the trend is in our (e.g. conservatives') DNA." Soon enough, we'll see how serious McConnell and Boehner are about bucking the trend towards bankruptcy. 

More from Reason on the debt here.