Hugh Hewitt

4. Block grant Medicaid to the states at the current level and increase payments only via inflation adjustments, leaving the states to administer the medical assistance for the poor programs as best they see fit.

5. Limit food stamp eligibility to halt the explosion in numbers of individuals eligible for the program.

This is what the GOP must insist upon in exchange for a hike in the debt limit, but to proceed in “regular order,” this must be reduced to legislative language and debated, voted on, and hopefully passed and sent to the Senate.

The House GOP needs a bill. It needs actual legislative language that the Members can discuss and debate and which the public can respond to.

When that happens and a bill is passed and sent to the Senate, Senate Republicans can do their best to get their colleagues on the Democratic side to take the measure up quickly, but in any case the responsibility for avoiding a collision with the debt ceiling will be on Harry Reid’s shoulders.

There is no reason for the House GOP to delay another day, and the bill should be written and available for the House GOP “retreat” this coming weekend in Williamsburg.

This isn’t rocket science, and the staff is available to put the bill into legislative form, post it on the web, and schedule the debate for the week of January 14th.

The Republicans cannot hope to frame the debate until they build the frame. Every day lost is one that cannot be used to advance the cause of avoiding the debt crisis.

Joe Biden was willing to lead the party of sane Democrats, and once the House’s bill arrives in the Senate perhaps he can be tasked a second time to gather the dozen or so Democrats –especially those facing re-election in 2014—and force Harry Reid to confront the crazies in the Democratic caucus who have blocked every step towards dealing with this tidal wave of debt. But that won’t happen until the House GOP sends over the bill and the bill is specific and public.

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.