Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) is one of several Republicans speaking out against his party's debt ceiling strategy. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that House Republicans are "still unsure whether they should use a debt-ceiling deadline to force a decisive showdown" with President Obama over cutting government spending.
Party leaders apparently didn't coalesce around a strategy to present to the rank-and-file at a GOP retreat that begins today in Williamsburg, Va.
But GOP backbenchers are already coming out against the debt ceiling as "hostage strategy." As Steve Benen notes, that "wasn't the case in 2011, when literally zero GOP lawmakers publicly denounced their party's hostage strategy, but it's certainly true now."
* Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) told C-SPAN that the GOP’s debt ceiling strategy is "not a good scenario" and that raising it is "a mathematical imperative."
* Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told The Wall Street Journal that the GOP shouldn’t use the debt ceiling as leverage but should instead threaten to shut down the government.
* Meanwhile in the Senate, Greg Sargent reports that both Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) acknowledged that the debt ceiling must be raised because the United States cannot default on obligations to pay for spending that Congress has already approved.
If Republicans think they can win spending and entitlement concessions from President Obama and Democrats by threatening not to raise the debt ceiling, their only hope is to stay absolutely united.
That plan already appears to be unraveling.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- 4 easy ways to resolve life's toughest questions
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
Subscribe to the Week