Tea Party: GOP Will Be Held Accountable For Backing Business In Debt Ceiling Fight
HuffPost- Michael McAullif
First Posted: 06/ 1/11 02:27 PM ET Updated: 06/ 1/11 02:45 PM ET
WASHINGTON — Think of Republicans’ Tuesday vote against raising America’s debt cap as their “honest, I do still love you” sop to last summer’s fling, the Tea Party.
Because, like all such overheated romances, this one could soon be headed for an ugly breakup over money.
Last year, the Tea Party’s interests and those of big business were nearly perfectly aligned, with companies pouring millions into campaigns to oust Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone dropped some $33 million, with 93 percent going to elect Republicans.
But things are different this year, and nowhere will the split be starker than in the fight over raising the debt limit. Those groups represented by the Chamber want it to go up, in order to avoid what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warns would be a catastrophe. The Tea Party — especially its more loosely organized, grassroots members — adamantly want the debt ceiling to stay put.
The big crunch will come sometime before August, when the United States is expected to begin defaulting on its debt if the limit is not raised. Then, Republicans — and the 86 freshmen who were powered into office on the Tea Party surge in 2010 –- will have to decide if they embrace the entreaties of the business world to increase the limit or the ardent pleas of their tea-sipping supporters who want Uncle Sam’s credit card cut off at the current $14.3 trillion.
“What we’re looking for is real control of Congressional spending, not some fallacy they invent to make the electorate feel good for a temporary time,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.
A fallacy, in his eyes, would be the plan Congressional Republicans have embraced to raise the debt ceiling once they get concessions on spending cuts and budget reforms from Democrats.