Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner held a vote yesterday for a no-strings-attached debt ceiling hike. What’s worse? It passed. What’s the very worst? The Senate just passed the bill as well.
After all the threats of default, after the government shut down, after all the cries for smaller government and holding officials accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars, after all the hype and the battles – just like that – the debt ceiling rises cleanly, quickly, and without any stipulations.
The GOP forfeited.
After House Republicans decided to vote for the Ryan-Murray budget, which included military pension reforms in exchange for cancelling the sequester, they turned around and decided to cancel the reforms as part of raising the debt ceiling, saying nonsensically this was somehow a Republican win. At first, the Senate, under Democrat Harry Reid, said it was unacceptable because the House plan offset that pension reform by extending the sequester on Medicare spending.
However, in the end, Senate Democrats agreed to the bill with pension reform that will be offset by cuts to Medicare 10 years down the road, passing the House’s version 67 to 31.
In the House, 28 Republicans voted yes and two Democrats voted no. The 221 to 201 vote was not a landslide, but it didn’t have to be:
“[Boehner] 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.”
This part of the base is definitely demoralized. There is no doubt that the solution to America’s $17 trillion debt is far more complicated than raise it or bust. Finding where and how to cut is sure to anger plenty of Americans who like their benefits. However, when we just learned yesterday that $12 million in prescription drugs have mistakenly gone to inmates, we have to wonder what other oversights are racking up on America’s debt bill and could easily be cut.
Some Republicans are urging Boehner to step down. The Daily Caller reported:
“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. Speaker Boehner has failed in his duty to represent the people and as a result, it is time for him to go… Fire the Speaker,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin in a statement before the vote.
This vote marks a disheartening move on the part of Boehner and the entire party. Then again, let’s not get too down. My generation and my children’s generation and their children’s generation will simply have to make up the difference. No, we won’t see our Social Security checks…but at least Congress got back home to their comfy establishments before the snow storm.