Conservatives Cave on Debt Limit - Want Fight on Shutdown Instead

Posted: Oct 10, 2013 8:06 AM

Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham, one of the architects of the Defund Obamacare campaign, said yesterday that Republicans should give President Obama a clean debt limit hike so conservatives can focus on Obamacare and the government shutdown instead.

"No, we should raise the debt limit," Needham told a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Wednesday. "My tactic is to focus on the CR," he said.

The Washington Examiner's Byron York reports that fellow Defund activists at FreedomWorks are also on board for a clean debt limit hike that shifts focus back to the government shutdown debate.

And it does appear House Republican Leadership might do just that...although for different reasons.

The Washington Examiner's Susan Ferrechio reports that Republican leaders want to pass a short-term debt limit hike in the hopes of forcing Obama to negotiate a larger spending deal, that might or might not include Obamacare.

"I think that there is a developing consensus that this is a lot bigger than an Obamacare discussion," Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., told the Washington Examiner Wednesday.

Still, it is far from clear that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has the votes for any clean debt limit increase. National Journal's Tim Alberta reports that some House conservatives are considering a number of policy additions to add to a short-term debt limit hike including, commensurate spending cuts, the inclusion of one, or multiple, mini-funding bills that have been passed through the House, or language that would prioritize Treasury payments.

Including at least one policy rider is very important for many House conservatives because it would preserve the precedent of securing concessions in return for raising the debt limit. "That's never gonna happen," one GOP lawmaker told Alberta about a clean debt limit hike of any length.

House Republican Leaders have signaled they want to vote on a short-term debt limit hike as soon as Friday. But considering the conflicting goals and priorities of their caucus, that seems next to impossible.

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