Rand Paul to Filibuster a Debt Limit Deal?
Senator Rand Paul is saying no debt limit increase without sending a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget to the states. Paul is threatening to filibuster a debt deal that lacks a balanced budget proposal. The Kentucky senator is adding his voice to that of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and other leading congressional conservatives.
DeMint is raising the stakes in the high stakes game on the debt limit. DeMint is declaring that congressional Republicans who support a debt deal minus a balanced budget amendment could face primary opposition from the right in next year's elections.
Reports are that Democrats and Republicans are currently deadlocked in their debt limit negotiations. There's an August 2 deadline for increasing the national debt limit.
Some reports suggest that some congressional Republicans may be open to a "mini-debt limit" deal, one that increases the federal debt limit for one and a half years. Such a bargain, these Republicans hope, would take the debt limit off the table until 2013, when, presumably, a new Republican president occupies the White House.
But, of course, there's no guarantee that the Republicans will win the White House in 2012, despite Mr. Obama's current woes. Should Mr. Obama manage re-election, he's a lame duck -- meaning he's free from re-election concerns. Mr. Obama has proven to be stubbornly ideological in pushing his domestic agenda in his first term. He has willingly incurred public disapproval over his mammoth health care reform and his reckless spending schemes. An Obama second term could prove all the more disastrous for the nation. It's imperative that congressional Republicans aggressively position the party now to help the eventual GOP nominee defeat Mr. Obama next year.
Wavering congressional Republicans would be well advised to stand with Paul, DeMint, and other conservative stalwarts in pushing for a balanced budget amendment and strict spending caps. Voters need to see the GOP lay down clear markers on one of the chief issues facing the nation: government debt and spending.
Defeating Mr. Obama next year means Republicans need to define issues and demonstrate commitment. Playing big ball on the debt limit is a critical way of doing so. Paul and DeMint are right to expect big, tangible results from a debt limit agreement. Messers Boehner and McConnell should listen up.