GOP divided over House Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Republicans are finding it exceptionally difficult within their own ranks to fully unite behind Speaker of the House John Boehner’s plan for raising the debt limit. Indeed, the GOP turmoil on Tuesday brings to mind the old adage, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The original supporters of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act (CCB), which tied a vote on the debt ceiling to spending cuts, caps and a balanced budget amendment, blanched at the speaker’s proposal, reacting as if he purposely gutted their signature legislation.

“Cut, Cap, and Balance is not merely a legislative framework, it is a series of principles,” read a press release from the CCB coalition. “Principles are not subject to negotiation. Unfortunately, the Speaker’s plan falls short of meeting these principles.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota also came out against the plan on Tuesday. “I can say that the Congresswoman is standing firm opposing the Boehner plan,” a Bachmann staffer told ThinkProgress.

There is similar dissatisfaction behind the scenes on Capitol Hill.

One House GOP aide told The Daily Caller of the Boehner plan, “Everyone wants to vote no. It’s like TARP all over again.”

And a senior Senate GOP staffer told TheDC that “Boehner is performing like a used car salesman.”

“You know the car has too many miles and will crumble once you get it off the lot, but you’re tempted to buy it nonetheless,” the staffer added.

On the flip side, Boehner’s proposal has some support – even in somewhat surprising places.

Freshman Congressman Allen West of Florida tweeted Tuesday morning that he supported the new plan. “I will support the new debt deal – it has enough of what I need, including no tax hikes, spending caps, and a step toward a balanced budget,” wrote West.

On the floor of the Senate Tuesday morning, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed the Boehner plan.

“Republicans have offered the only proposal that attempts to get at the root of the problem — and which actually has a chance of getting to the President’s desk,” said McConnell. “That’s why we’ll continue to press for the legislation Speaker Boehner has proposed.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has also heartily endorsed the plan, even going so far as to tell House Republicans, Tuesday, to “stop grumbling and whining and to come together as conservatives and rally behind the speaker and call the president’s bluff.”

Conservative powerhouse Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show that he too thinks the Tea Party should get behind Boehner’s plan. It’s time to compromise, said Barbour.

“Our people have to understand that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” the governor said. “If I had my way, if I were a dictator, we’d have no tax increases. But Republicans control one half of one third of the government.”

Ingraham, a prominent conservative commentator, agreed with Barbour, saying Boehner’s proposal is good enough.

It was early morning comments like those, Hill sources told TheDC, that are now putting immense pressure on freshmen Republicans.

According to one Senate GOP aide, for instance, there’s already a “ton of pressure” being applied to freshmen to relinquish and support the speaker’s plan.

Boehner’s proposal would raise the debt limit by $1 trillion, which would last until about next March. It also cuts $1.2 trillion from discretionary spending over ten years and puts in motion a vote on a balanced budget amendment before the end of the year.

Watch Boehner defends ‘common sense’ debt plan: