WASHINGTON – “This is even worse than when the Democrats were running the show. That’s because we are simply raising the debt ceiling for nothing,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., told WND.
That was right before the House voted late Tuesday afternoon to suspend the debt ceiling until March 15, 2015, without any conditions, most notably, without any spending cuts.
The bill passed by a vote of 221-201. Twenty-eight Republicans voted for the bill that is projected to allow $700 billion in new spending. Without their votes, it could not have passed.
Those voting for it included Boehner, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
Huelskamp and other House conservatives were stunned to learn Tuesday that Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had decided to let a “clean” debt-ceiling bill come up for a vote, and had unexpectedly dropped a proposal that would have tied the debt ceiling increase to a repeal of cuts to military retirement pensions.
The Kansan told WND, “We have a president who said he won’t negotiate, but now we have a speaker who won’t negotiate spending cuts, either. They’re on the same page here.”
The bill even violates the very rule the speaker named after himself, the Boehner rule, that any increase in the nation’s debt ceiling would be accompanied by an equal amount of spending cuts.
Boehner said his strategy is to let Democrats take the blame for removing the debt ceiling until 2015.
Responded Huelskamp, “We’re giving the Democrats exactly what they want, and somehow that’s a good thing?”
“Why don’t we just re-elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker?” he wondered, adding, “She’s getting what she wants.”
Echoing that was Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said, “We are handing the President and Democrats exactly what they want – essentially a borrowed, blank check for the rest of the year – ‘no strings attached.’”
“Our current level of debt is suicidal. Our Republican leaders need to hear from Republican voters,” Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas told WND.
“It’s easy to spend, spend, spend when it’s future generations that will have to pick up the tab. But for the sake of children and grandchildren, we need to put the brakes on reckless spending and get America’s fiscal house in order,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
The conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation released a statement reading, “President Obama is already threatening to disregard Congress and use executive actions to make laws. Will he have all the borrowing power, too? Does Congress do anything anymore?”
“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,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said in a statement.
“Right now we’ve got a debt ceiling bill that increases spending, which is diametrically 180 degrees opposite of what we were battling over just two years ago — where the question was how much in spending cuts we were going to get,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.
Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., said watching the minority control the vote felt “like Alice in Wonderland. Totally upside down.”
“The majority is supposed to be the party that moves us forward, because they run the ship,” he added.
The Conservative Action Project said in a statement, “This latest deal is yet another sign of failed and out-of-touch leadership in Washington. We commend those conservatives in Washington who oppose this capitulation to the big-government status quo.”
Huelskamp lamented that no one in the GOP leadership will “stand up and say here’s what were willing to fight for. Even one dime in cuts that’s better than doing nothing.”
One person may be willing to put up a fight in the Senate.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may have signaled his intention to launch another filibuster to try to stop the debt ceiling increase from passing in his chamber.
He released a statement tonight that said, “I intend to object to any effort to raise the debt ceiling on a 50-vote threshold. I will insist instead on a 60-vote threshold, and if Republicans stand together we can demand meaningful spending restraint to help pull our nation back from the fiscal and economic cliff.”
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth