The Wall Street Journal

Boehner Warns GOP on Debt Ceiling
By Naftali Bendavid

Raising the debt ceiling is shaping up as a difficult early vote for the new House GOP majority. Many of the new Republican lawmakers harshly criticized their Democratic opponents during the campaign for voting to raise the limit in the past, citing it as an example of the Democrats’ recklessness with federal tax dollars.

But on Thursday, Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said he’s been talking to the newly elected GOP lawmakers about the need to raise the federal debt ceiling when it comes up early next year.

“I’ve made it pretty clear to them that as we get into next year, it’s pretty clear that Congress is going to have to deal with this,” Mr. Boehner, who is slated to become House speaker in January, told reporters.

“We’re going to have to deal with it as adults,” he said, in what apparently are his most explicit comments to date. “Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

If an increase in the current debt limit of $14.3 trillion does not pass, it would suggest the country may not meet its obligations and would shake the financial system. It could rock the bond market, rattle the dollar and scare away foreign buyers of U.S. debt.

That puts the Republicans in a tough spot. The GOP will have a House majority of just over 50, and Democrats presumably wouldn’t vote to raise the debt limit, given the tenor of the recent campaign. With about 88 Republican newcomers, GOP leaders might have to persuade many of them to vote for the debt limit. And at least some have made it clear they’re not interested.

Republican leaders hope to circumvent the problem by packaging the debt increase with a plan to cut spending. “We’ll have a lot of time over the coming months to discuss that issue, and how we might move such an issue, but those conversations haven’t started yet,” Mr. Boehner said.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R., Texas), a senior member of the Republican leadership who coordinated the GOP House campaigns, suggested that it would be different when Republicans raise the debt limit than when Democrats did it.

“My sense is when you’re out spending wildly and then you’re willing to raise the debt limit, that’s a problem,” Mr. Sesssions said. “When you are [coming in] with a comprehensive plan, including a budget that clearly lays out priorities and expectations of performance, then say you have to deal with what is there—[that] is a very responsible position.” He added, “We have to have a discussion with our newest members than involves more of a plan…The United States must pay its bills.”

Mr. Sessions suggested Mr. Boehner would talk with President Barack Obama about an agreement that could include a debt limit hike packaged with a rollback of parts of Mr. Obama’s health plan. Mr. Sessions said the issue should not to be politicized, an exhortation likely to be met with skepticism by the Democrats who were targeted by GOP attacks on the issue. “It’s very important to understand that we have a responsibility not to create any issue that divides our country unnecessarily,” he said.

The challenge for Republicans is that many of their highest-profile newcomers are on the record strongly opposing a debt limit increase. Tea party protestors and activists will likely watch the vote as an indication of whether the new lawmakers are sticking by their principles or, as they see it, caving in to Washington ways.

The campaign of Rep.-elect Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) attacked Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for voting to raise the debt limit. Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R., S.C.), who like Ms. Noem is joining the House Republican leadership, reiterated Friday that he wouldn’t vote to raise the ceiling.

In February, Republican Reid Ribble blasted Rep. Steve Kagen (D., Wis.), whom he defeated, for voting to increase the debt limit, calling it “unconscionable” and “insane.” He added, “Congressman Kagen is on notice that the people of northeastern Wisconsin are watching and we are outraged.”

Similarly, Rep.-elect Steve Stivers (R., Ohio) blasted Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy for voting to raise the debt ceiling. “That shows a reckless desire to spend money we don’t have, and borrow money we can’t afford to pay back,” he said.

Rep.-elect Lou Barletta (R., Pa.) cited the raising of the debt limit during the campaign in saying that “Congress and the president are spending our country into servitude.”

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  • my suggestion for a start,
    "Well Mr Cantor, you can start by stopping your actions to Globalize America with your seat on the TransAtlantic Policy Network
    Agenda: strengthen the institutional structure for ongoing transatlantic political dialogue, building on the evolving Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue (TLD) between Members of the European Parliament and the US Congress, possibly into a Transatlantic Assembly.

    And do your darndest to stop what you and Mr Beohner have started!"
  • Increasing the debt limit has only and always meant more uncontrolled spending; it's a bad move to even suggest, without FIRST trimming the spending WAY back. One of the places to start is, as others have suggested, funding spent on illegals in this nation; for education, health care, and housing, as well as food stamps and WIC programs, school lunches etc. None of these programs are owed to illegals. Also cutting all support to Palestinians and others who support and aid terrorist groups, If the Muslims are so worried about their welfare, let them spend some of their oil money to care for them. Ditto aid to Karzai's government etc. Discontinue all tax payer funded travel for members of Congress, and the Executive branch, except the POTUS when on official business for the nation; and ONE vacation per year in office! And no flying parties at tax payer expense either. Repeal Obamacare, and all efforts at sneaking cap and trade in by sectors of the nation. The costs are prohibitive for those. Trim ALL Federal level employees' salaries which are also at tax payer expense and should NOT be higher than private sector level jobs that are comparable. They have better job security and retirement plans as compensation enough over the private sector. Trim all entitlement programs; start weaning the population off them, but most especially those that encourage multiple children just for the added checks and stop the waste in all entitlement programs as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Those will go a LONG way to decreasing the need for deficit raising.
    • I saw this web site mentioned before but after seeing your list I want to post it again.

      It's an effort to get input from the public on which items to cut in order to get the budget under control.
  • Do you actually think that the Democratic Senate would vote to convict Obama on impeachment charges and remove him from office? Not a chance. The Republican House would serve us better by refusing to spend more than we take in, using rational methods to protect the country, quit funding our enemies, work for a balanced budget, etc. etc.
    I'm not nuts, I'm just outnumbered in my great, broke State of California.
  • Impeachment legitimatizes his Presidency, have the military file TREASON charges in him and remove him. That would be the best would it not?
  • I have wrote, e-mailed, faxed, and called many of these a-holes in Washington D.C. trying to get them to stop the way this country is headed..... All seems to fall on deaf, corrupt, greedy ears.... There is only one person in Washington D.C. that has been screaming the same thing for over 20 years and "We The People" has stood back and allowed the "News Media" (yes even Fox News) to screw all over this "The Only True American in Congress" that has any hope what so ever of getting the Republic back on a right track..... That person is Ron Paul out of Texas..... Every American needs to check this person out and see what he has been saying for years and years, and has never changed his message, then take every penny, nickle, time and quarter and send it to him for another run at the Presidency...... He will only serve 4 years but will straighten this Republic out in 2 years...... He needs to run Palin as his VP....
  • From what I know of Rep. elect Lou Barletta he's one individual who is not going to go along with the herd. Bartletta took the tough road against illegal aliens when he was mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He stuck to his guns in the face of much negative publicity criticizing him for being too tough on illegals. That stance got him elected to Congress. Boehner should knock off the politically correct blather and listen to Lou Barletta!
  • Robert, I have been writing to my Congressman every week since before the election when they mentioned Globalist Beihner as Speaker...I have written Ms Bachmann to run for Speaker or recommend someone...anyone other than Boehner...

    Jack, ya far as the MSM did the People get the message out? The new media...until we take back the media too...they are the enemy and are continually shown as such. I give the American People much more credit I guess and I do believe this can be done....
  • I pray the newly elected representatives will hold strong. What is WRONG with Boehner?!!!
  • And the RINOS have started to try and muscle the new electives in to their agenda. I pray they have the strength to tell them to they were elected to do "We the People"(s) bidding and not that of their Special Interest buddies. We have to keep in contact with all of them and let them know we are still watching and will not stop. That they will be held accountable for what they do while we have GIVEN them the power to do OUR bidding.
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