Mike Needham

According to freshman Congressman James Lankford (R-MO), Speaker Boehner told House conservatives he appreciated their principled stand, saying, “I’m hearing out there in the reports that I’m being painted into a corner. I appreciate you guys painting me into a corner, because I was standing here anyway.”

The message for conservative activists is simple: keep encouraging your Members of Congress to stand for conservative principles.

Before the deal was cut on Friday, Speaker Boehner told the media that “we're not going to roll over and sell out the American people like it's been done time and time again here in Washington.” The strong support of conservative activists all across the country empowered House Republicans to hold out, despite a withering press assault coordinated by the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Planned Parenthood.

Without consistent conservative pressure, billions in cuts would never have materialized.

Nonetheless, President Barack Obama is now trying to claim victory. Last month, I wrote that President Obama’s absence from this debate was carefully planned. He was just biding his time, looking to re-emerge at the last minute and play the role of Washington peacemaker and grownup. With the bully pulpit and a sympathetic media, President Obama’s polling number may very well bump up, just as they did in December.

However, unless President Obama is ready to lead on the larger issue of our debt, his poll numbers will fall once again. Remember, the President is trying to claim credit for saving America from a problem he and his fellow Democrats exacerbated. During the first two years of his presidency, Barack Obama spent more than the first four years of the Reagan administration. It took from our nation’s founding until 1991 to rack up as much cumulative debt as we have in the last two years.

What Americans just witnessed over the past several weeks is nothing compared to the wrangling, rhetoric and stakes of raising the debt ceiling. America faces enormous challenges. Until President Obama and his Congressional allies accept the need to make dramatic changes to our government, we will continue to struggle at every impasse. Americans should take comfort that their influence is being heard in Washington.

Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.