House Republicans will unsurprisingly cave on the debt ceiling

Paul Ryan

House Republicans are at a retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia for a few days this week hoping to find a strategy that will help the rebuild before the 2014 election and deal with President Obama during his second term.

Perhaps one of the biggest rumors that has come out of the retreat — noted yesterday afternoon on Twitter by Erick Erickson — is word that they will not put up a fight on raising the debt ceiling, which is set to be reached at some point in mid-February.

While he wasn’t that straightforward in comments to the media yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has urged unity from his party on fiscal issues, said that a short-term hike would be passed if a large agreement on spending couldn’t be reach with the White House:

“We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and the White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan told reporters gathered at the pricey Kingsmill resort in Williamsburg, where the House GOP is holding its annual retreat.

“All of those things are the kinds of things we’re discussing,” said Ryan, the party’s budget chief and 2012 vice presidential candidate.

Over at the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein laid out the political reasons for such a strategy. According to Klein, by giving the White House a debt ceiling increase without conditions or threat of a government shutdown, it would “remove all pressure” from House Republicans and allow them “to pass bills that actually do address the nation’s problems — its economic stagnation, rising energy and health care costs, mounting debt and so on.”

This would seem to backup some of what Ryan told reporters yesterday when he said that also said that House Republicans will push for a deal that cuts spending during the spring. Ryan explained, “We believe that it would be wrong if we walk out of this spring with no achievement on debt reduction whatsoever.”

House conservatives are imploring Republican leadership not to make a deal for a clean increase in the debt ceiling. But it seems that the calls for fiscal restraint are falling on deaf ears.

While Ryan pays lip-service to pushing for spending cuts, if House Republicans give in without spending cuts, there is no way that they’ll ever get anything accomplished. The old saying goes — if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk. President Obama will expect this moving forward and House Republicans will cave, time and time again.

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