POLITICS: PennAve

Conservative groups bash John Boehner over clean debt limit bill

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Congress,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Club for Growth,Budgets and Deficits,Heritage Action

House Speaker John Boehner's decision Tuesday to hold a vote on a "clean" bill to raise the nation's borrowing limit is his latest brush with influential conservative groups.

Heritage Action called the Ohio Republican's decision "reckless," the Club for Growth said it thought the bill was a joke, while the Tea Party Patriots said the move was "complete capitulation" to Democrats.

Boehner said Tuesday he would pursue a debt bill without add-ons after House Republicans failed to get behind a package he pushed a day earlier that tied raising the federal borrowing limit to reversing a cut in military pensions. A vote on the measure is likely for Tuesday evening.

Conservative lawmakers and outside groups say increasing the nation's borrowing limit only encourages Congress to spend more. Instead, they want Capitol Hill to find ways to significantly cut spending as a way to ensure the federal government's self-imposed borrowing limit, currently about $17.3 trillion, isn't breached.

"Something is very wrong with House leadership or with the Republican Party," said a statement from the Club for Growth. "This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support."

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, said the bill is another setback for the federal government to live within its means.

The bill "erodes whatever remaining credibility [Boehner] had," Martin said. "He has lost the ability to lead the House of Representatives, let alone his own party,"

The Senate Conservatives Fund said Boehner's move to push a debt limit increase warrants his replacement as speaker.

"Conservatives helped Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives, which made it possible for John Boehner to become speaker," said statement on the group's website. "Unfortunately, he has chosen to ignore us and help President Obama enact his liberal agenda."

A Heritage Action blog post, while not naming Boehner directly, said the legislation renders the debt limit "inoperative" because it would hand the Obama administration "a blank check to borrow for an entire year."

"Rather than suspending the debt limit again, Congress should put the budget on a path to balance in order to avoid a much worse fiscal crisis in the future — before deciding how much more to borrow," Heritage Action said.

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