GOP fault lines deepen as Boehner says tea party seeks ‘chaos’ in debt deal
The longer the nation’s debt crisis goes unsolved, it seems, the deeper and uglier the fault lines within the Republican Party grow.
Paul Teller, the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, a large policy group made up of House Republicans, came under fire from a group of Republicans who support House Speaker John Boehner’s plan for the debt ceiling. Teller and other RSC members had circulated emails speaking against Boehner’s plan Tuesday.
In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, Teller stood silently while House Republicans chanted “fire him, fire him,” Politico reported.
“It was an unbelievable moment,” someone at the meeting told Politico. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
At the same meeting, Boehner reportedly spoke bluntly to his fellow legislators, many of whom are undecided about his plan.
“Get your ass in line,” ABC News reported him saying. “I can’t do this job unless you are behind me.”
On conservative host Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday morning, Boehner said many who align themselves with the ultra-conservative tea party and oppose his plan are hoping to cause “enough chaos” to force a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget plan.
“I don’t think that that strategy works,” Boehner said. “Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.”
Debt negotiations continue, with a vote on Boehner’s plan scheduled for Thursday afternoon. A vote had been scheduled for earlier in the week, but it was pushed back. Popular opinion attributes the delay as time for Boehner to gather more votes within his caucus.