Amy Walter: Republicans Hoping They Can Take Symbolic Vote On Debt Limit And Let Someone Else Be The Adult

During the panel discussion on This Week, George Will calls Republican opposition to raising the debt limit "suicidal" and Amy Walter gives us some insight into just what game Lindsey Graham is probably playing. TAPPER: Speaking of -- of the
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During the panel discussion on This Week, George Will calls Republican opposition to raising the debt limit "suicidal" and Amy Walter gives us some insight into just what game Lindsey Graham is probably playing.

TAPPER: Speaking of -- of the tension between Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans coming in, I want to read you this quote from an interview Boehner gave to the New Yorker magazine. He was referring to the vote to raise the ceiling on the debt limit, which is currently $14.3 trillion.

Boehner says, "This is going to be probably the first really big adult moment for the new Republican majority. You can underline adult. And for people who've never been in politics, it's going to be one of those growing moments. It's going to be difficult. I'm certainly well aware of that. But we'll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn't do it."

Speaker Boehner suggesting that if you do not vote to raise the debt ceiling, you are not being an adult. George?

WILL: I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it. The trouble is, it's suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority, because if the United States defaults on its sovereign debt, the markets -- well, it will be stimulating.

TAPPER: Well, you heard -- and you heard Austan Goolsbee earlier today talk about -- the word "insanity" was what he used to describe it.

GARRETT: Let me give a sense of the anxiety that John Boehner, the Republican leadership in the House feels about this. At orientation conferences with incoming house Republicans, both at Harvard and at Heritage Foundation, this topic came up again and again and again. No matter what the policy conversation was, they wanted to know, why do we have to increase the debt ceiling? What are the economic consequences?

There was deep-seated, A, curiosity and skepticism about the need to do this. So internally House Republicans are going to have to sit down and -- and conduct what will amount to speed education courses on this matter.

Now, two other significant things. This will be a clean vote, a visible vote that will be separate from everything else. You can't tuck it into another legislative maneuver, as Democrats did under the Gephardt rule.

Secondly, what you will also see is the House Republican Appropriations Committee will move spending cuts through alongside these, so those who have to vote for the debt ceiling will say, "I've raided the debt ceiling, but I've also voted to cut spending." You'll see that happen much more rapidly because of the pressure applied politically on this debt ceiling vote.

TAPPER: Amy, last word on the debt ceiling?

WALTER: No, I think that Major is right. This is going to be a very interesting test, sort of a game of chicken. And I think there are a lot of Republicans out there right now hoping that they can take a symbolic vote because somebody else is going to be the adult and do that.

And you may see it based on when you're up for re-election -- the House obviously every two years, but in the Senate, you know, who is most worried about a Tea Party challenge, maybe the folks that can take a pass on that.

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