Mark Meckler of TPP gives me this explanation of the leading Tea Party group's stance.
We stand with the vast majority of Americans who don't want to see the debt limit raised. Coincidentally, we find ourselves standing with folks like President (then Senator) Obama, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Majority Leader Reid.
The President had very strong thoughts on raising the debt ceiling:
Senator Obama: "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."Also opposed were folks like Sen. John Kerry, Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn.
Steny Hoyer: Opposed the debt celing increase referring to "reckless spending."
While it appears that suddenly the majority of these folks have now mysteriously flip-flopped, we believe their previous statements on the issue were correct, as do the vast majority of Americans, according to all polling. Once again, the Tea Party Patriots' position is the American position. Don't raise the debt ceiling; cut the credit card. Like teens who have violated their parents' trust, the folks in DC have proven they do not have the maturity to be trusted with our credit card and it must be withdrawn.
On a side note, all the talk of default is foolish. Sen. Toomey and Rep. McClintock have put forth the Full Faith and Credit Act which would require the government to pay its debt obligations before anything else. With approximate monthly revenue at $220B and interest obligations at $11B, this is not a problem for the government in terms of default. The only question becomes, where will government reform and cut. That is the appropriate debate, and that bill should be passed immediately to reassure world credit markets that the U.S. will not default and will impose strong austerity measures to assure a viable and sound fiscal future for the United States.
Like I wrote this week, FreedomWorks polling has found that the debt ceiling increase is fantastically unpopular even if it's tied to some reforms, so this is going to be a hell of a tough vote for Republicans.