Brinksmanship has already started over the upcoming debt limit vote, even if we don't know when the debt limit will be reached. I reported yesterday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was still talking through the possible concessions Republicans will ask from Democrats in order for the vote. Here's what the back bench is saying.
I urge you to attach a full repeal of Obamacare to the debt ceiling increase legislation. No other amendments or legislation should be attached to the debt ceiling bill so that the Senate and the President can be confronted with a stark, simple and profound choice: Pass the bill, save America from default and repeal Obamacare, or protect Obamacare at the price of defaulting on our national debt.
Goodlatte said he hasn't decided on concessions for such a move, but said he might attach his support for a higher ceiling to his pet legislative project — a Constitutional amendment to require balanced federal budgets, he said.
"I'm very much in favor of getting that up for a vote at the appropriate time," he said after his talk. "Whether it's the debt ceiling [negotiations] or not, I don't know yet."
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., in a Fox News interview. (Mulvaney is a freshman who took a Democratic seat last year.)
I've said that I'd be more than willing to consider voting for the debt increase if it comes with structural, real structural, what I call cultural change to Washington. Not one time savings, not a little bit of cost savings here or there, but something that changes the way this town does business, because just nibbling around the edges and making small cuts here, small cuts there, even large one-time cuts here or there is not going to change the way this town does business. And until we change that, my guess is we don't ever get our house in order, fiscally.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Ca., in an interview with Don Imus.
I will vote to raise it. I will vote to raise it, though... what I'm saying is that it does have to come with a real "come to Jesus" moment where we say, and what are we doing along with raising the debt ceiling? Are we making changes in how we raise and spend money, or are we simply kicking the can down the road for our grandchildren?
I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
And there are already Republicans who promise not to vote for the increase at all. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla.:
I'm going to vote no on raising the debt limit ceiling. I don't think it's the right thing for us to do and I think the people back home... are saying, "Look, I have to live within our means at home. And the federal government has to live within its means."
But the fight is with Republicans, dozens of whom will be needed to raise the limit -- and that's assuming Democrats want to choke down their medicine and vote for the increase, pre-writing countless 2012 campaign ads for their opponents.
If your member of Congress speaks out on this, give a heads up in the comments.