*Congressional Republicans itching for a fight over increasing the debt limit might get their wish, outgoing House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) suggested on Tuesday.
Boehner acknowledged the difficulty of getting the 218 votes needed to pass a bill that would increase the debt limit without including conservative fiscal reforms. “I don’t like the idea of doing a clean debt-ceiling [increase],” he said on Fox News Tuesday evening. “We’re going to talk to our members and we’ll find a way forward here in the next couple of days.”
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who is coordinating with HFC members, admitted readily that he hopes to establish a maximalist negotiating position designed to influence the debt-limit talks.
**“I think it’s important that we use this leverage,” Paul told reporters during a Monday press call. His proposal: the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2015, which would cut federal spending by $207 billion this year, cap future spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product, and require Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment and send it to the states for ratification. He is also pushing the Default Prevention Act, a bill designed to remove the possibility of a default in the event of future debt-limit standoffs by mandating that the Treasury Department use incoming tax revenue to pay debts and other high-profile bills.
**“In 2011, we passed this bill, or a similar bill, in the House and then it stalled in the Senate. But there was, I think, an in-between that came about because of this battle,” Paul said. “That in-between is called the sequester . . . the only good thing that had probably happened in years up here.”