Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) bluntly refused to bring up any debt ceiling vote in the House without demanding Democratic concessions first, telling ABC’s This Week, “We are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.”
By Wednesday, conservative powerhouses Heritage Foundation and Koch Industries made room for a new plan when both urged Republicans to approve a debt ceiling increase with no strings attached. In a striking change in tone, House GOP leadership have presented a clean six-week debt ceiling extension that does not include a plan to fund the government.
At a press conference Thursday, House GOP leadership announced the new strategy, one day after Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham admitted the group will “give the speaker some flex on a short-term debt limit increase,” in order to extend the shutdown over Obamacare. On Wednesday, Koch officials increased the pressure with a letter for inquiring members who “have asked what our position is on this issue” that claims the conservative billionaires never supported withholding government funds over Obamacare. Privately, Koch officials told Congress a U.S. default would be a disaster.
Both groups have been driving forces throughout the debt and shutdown crises and are responsible for putting Tea Party members in Congress in the first place. Even now, it’s not clear if the Tea Party that Heritage and Koch helped to create will accept a deal on these terms, since debt ceiling truthers refuse to recognize that default is an economic threat.
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Heritage Action announced that it would not count a vote for a debt extension against conservatives in its scorecard of congressional votes. “We do not support clean debt ceiling increases, but because Heritage Action is committed to giving House Leadership the flexibility they need to refocus the debate on Obamacare we will not key vote against the reported proposal,” Needham said.