Wednesday, February 12, 2014

House votes to raise the debt limit. John Boehner must go! How the TN delegation voted.

The House today voted to raise the debt limit again, without wrestling any spending concessions from Democrats and the administration. The vote was not close. With a vote of 221 to 201 the motion carried with 16 votes to spare. The Tennessee delegation voted along party lines; all republicans voting "no" and Democrats Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen voting "yes."

Twenty-eight Republicans broke ranks and voted with the 193 Democrats who voted to raise the debt limit. Only two Democrats voted "no."  Notable Republicans who voted "yes" included Republican Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. While I have been hesitant to say it was time for the House to elect a new speaker, I think now it is time for Boehner to go! 

This was a major capitulation and betrayal on the part of Boehner who in 2011 established what has become known as the “Boehner Rule” which said any debt ceiling increase was must be offset by an equivalent spending cuts. I can understand the reluctance to possibly shutting down the government again this close to the 2014 elections. However, I think Republicans should have stood firm and at least got some spending concessions from the Democrats. Instead, Boehner rolled over and played dead.

I think Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn, or Diane Black would make a good House Speaker. In the Senate, Senator Ted Cruz has said he would filibuster the measure to force a 60-vote threshold.

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