House Republicans are expected to concede to US President Barack Obama this week and agree to raise the country’s borrowing limit, but at least one conservative lawmaker is against increasing the debt ceiling.
According to a report this week in Politico, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) had some harsh words for House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the GOP during a closed-door speech in South Carolina Monday night.
Sources reporting to the outlet say the son of recently-retired Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) was speaking to a select audience in Charleston, SC on the night of Pres. Obama’s inauguration when he verbally attacked his GOP colleagues for siding with the White House’s demands to raise the debt ceiling.
“I saw the speaker on TV handing the newly sworn-in president a flag. I am afraid it was the white flag of surrender,” the source quotes the senator.
House Republicans were participating in an annual retreat on Friday when news surfaced suggesting they would agree to raise the debt ceiling later this week. Earlier statements from Speaker Boehner and other members of the GOP left the impression that the Republican Party would be unwilling to side with the White House’s demands, but by the time Pres. Obama took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol Building Monday morning, word had managed to get around relaying just the opposite.
“They came out of their retreat and retreated,” Sen. Paul reportedly said during his speech in Charleston, where he was joined by National Rifle Association President David Keene.
Only days earlier, Sen. Paul went public with a plea to fellow GOP lawmakers asking them to stand their ground.
“I'm not in favor of raising the debt ceiling unless we have significant budgetary reform which shows we have changed our ways and we're going to begin to balance the budget,” Paul told WHAS11 News. “I don't think the president is accurate when he says, 'Oh, we have to pay our bills' because raising the debt ceiling doesn't pay your bills. It pays the interest on your bills and you keep accumulating more.”
Earlier in the week, Pres. Obama said, “Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly and pay America's bills or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis.”
"We've got to pay our bills," Pres. Obama said last week at a White House news conference. "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy," he said of Republicans. "The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."
In response to that statement, Speaker Boehner said Republicans would agree to raise the ceiling, but not without the White House conceding on another issue. "The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time," he said. "The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved. Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our children's future."
As it stands now, House Republicans are expected to agree on Wednesday to temporarily raise the debt ceiling, at least until April when they will convene once again to analyze the subject. Even then, however, Sen. Paul is likely to oppose any further increases to the country’s borrowing limit: since joining Congress, he’s been adamantly against raising the debt ceiling. When the Senate was asked to consider raising the limit in 2011, Sen. Paul issued an open letter saying, “This plan does not solve our problem. Not even close. I cannot abide the destruction of our economy, therefore I vigorously oppose this deal and I urge my colleagues and the American people to do the same.”