The House GOP is fretting again, which is all it seems to do. Some of its members want a showdown over the debt limit. Some of us want spring training to hurry up and get here. The president is hoping the GOP does something to take the millions of eyes off the CBO report on Obamacare’s epic failures.
The Senate GOP is hoping to do nothing that screws up what appears to be a huge year for their number, with voting beginning in eight months. Can the House GOP avoid doing something really stupid for eight months?
So what to do about the debt limit, which must be raised? Treat it as the last key legislative act before the voting begins, which it may indeed be (absent some burst of common sense on something like a bipartisan “safe harbor” law for data breach victims.)
The House should hike the debt enough to get to February 2014, attaching to it as a condition of the borrowing authority only (1) the repeal of the cut to the COLA of career military retirees (the only $6 billion we won’t borrow shouldn’t be the $6 billion to go to the men and women who have served at least 20 years in uniform, including all of the past dozen years of wars and who knows how many deployments) and (2) repeal of the medical device tax, which remains an object of bipartisan hatred, one which received a vast bi-partisan vote in the Senate a year ago in favor of repeal.
Thus Speaker Boehner could achieve two very good things and dare the Senate to say no to either or both.
Call the Speaker, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and your GOP representative and urge this approach, via 202-224-3121.
The GOP cannot win the debt limit battle but it can win the Senate, by triumphing in just six of these 14 races:
Dan Sullivan or Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell v. Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska.
Rep. Tom Cotton v. Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas
Randy Baumgardner, Ken Buck, Owen Hill, or Amy Stephens v. Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado
Joni Ernst or Mark Jacobs v. Rep. Bruce Braley in Iowa
Rep. Bill Cassidy or Rob Maness v. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana
Terri Lynn Land v. Rep. Gary Peters in Michigan
Mike McFadden v. Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota
Rep. Steve Daines v. Sen. John Walsh in Montana ( the Lt. Gov. of the state who is expected to be appointed to replace Max Baucus very soon.)
Scott Brown or Mark Steyn* v. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire (we can dream, can’t we?)
Thom Tillis v. Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina
Dr. Monica Wehby v. Sen. Jeff Merkly in Oregon
Mike Rounds v. ? in South Dakota
Ed Gillespie v. Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito v. ? in West Virginia
The debt limit hike is simply a tool for restoring an unjust and politically poisonous cut to the career military COLA and forcing Democrats in the Senate to live up to their word to get rid of the ruinous medical device tax which is, of all the taxing features of Obamacare, the very worst. Take a couple of clean, clear wins and move on to hearing after hearing after hearing as the stage setters for a choice in November that confronts the American electorate with a clear path forward to more of President Obama or a decisive retreat from the mistake of 2012.