Remember back in 2013 when some in the GOP were wishing Sen. Ted Cruz would shut up about Obamacare on the floor of the Senate? The debt ceiling, they told us, was where the real battle would take place. So they wanted Cruz to clam up, because after all, there was a GOP plan to go to war over the debt ceiling next time the Democrats wanted to raise the national debt.
Stroll though this National Review piece from last year (“The New Cantor Plan”) and reminisce. At the time, lots of conservatives fell for it. Yes, the debt ceiling, that’s where the real fight will be, they thought. Keep the quotes in mind next time the Republican party is urged to avoid a fight with the argument the fight can be put off to a more “favorable” environment in the far off future.
“We go right to the debt-ceiling fight, and that’s where the real battle is, we feel,” said Representative John Fleming. “It’s kind of like the follow-up plan, assuming that [the CR] fails. . . . The real fight will be on the debt ceiling.”
House budget chairman Paul Ryan also urged colleagues to wage the more serious fight over the debt ceiling. “We have to stay on the right side of public opinion,” he told his colleagues. “Shutting down the government puts us on the wrong side. The fight is on the debt limit.”
In exchange for a debt-ceiling increase, Cantor told colleagues, the GOP will issue a litany of demands, including a one-year delay of Obamacare, construction of the Keystone pipeline, an anti-regulatory bill called the REINS Act, and other spending reforms. The exact combination will be negotiated with President Obama and Reid.