There will be no debt ceiling showdown in Washington this year. After a few weeks of debate, Speaker John Boehner ultimately decided not to stage a repeat of the debt ceiling standoff that consumed American politics this past fall. The House has allowed the debt ceiling to be raised until 2015 with no strings attached (albeit with few Republican votes).As the New York Times reports, many on the right are extremely angry with Boehner for what they view as a cave to the President:
“He gave the president exactly what he wanted, which is exactly what the Republican Party said we did not want,” said a Republican representative, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who last year unsuccessfully tried to rally enough support to derail Mr. Boehner’s re-election as speaker. “It’s going to really demoralize the base.” […]
“A clean debt ceiling is a complete capitulation on the speaker’s part and demonstrates that he has lost the ability to lead the House of Representatives, let alone his own party,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “It is time for him to go.”
Republicans need to do two things: 1) Take a deep, calming breath. 2) Thank Boehner profusely (in private). If the GOP wins a Senate majority, it will have a much stronger hand in 2015 when the next vote on the debt ceiling comes. Avoiding a debt showdown now is a small step toward that goal. That most Republican House members could protect their right flank with an ostentatious vote against the measure is gravy. No wonder Boehner was singing “zippedee do dah” as he waltzed out of his press conference yesterday. This is a big win.