House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering. As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.
Speaking on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show this morning, Boehner agreed that failing to raise the limit before the deadline would be devastating, and said the “chaos” plan won’t work when asked by Ingraham what’s motivating the recalcitrant Republicans:
BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get past August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.
Boehner offers only political calculus for why this Tea Party plan wouldn’t work. He completely ignores the devastating effect a downgrade in U.S. debt and potential default would have on the American people and the global economy, who happen to be innocent bystanders to this high-stakes hostage negotiation.
Many on the left have been arguing all along that some Republicans are more interested in extorting concessions than addressing the debt issue, and are willing to blow up the economy if they don’t get their way — it’s refreshing, if troubling, to see that their leader agrees.