Politics

GOP consensus: Fight over spending cuts, sequestration

GOP consensus: Fight over spending cuts, sequestration

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.—Republican House Members at their retreat Thursday appeared to have a consensus on two key points: a temporary debt ceiling increase while major spending cuts are being worked out; and making a major fight over sequestration.

“The temporary debt ceiling increase was certainly explored today,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told us, saying that many of his colleagues felt that fighting over the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration was probably more productive than opposing a debt ceiling increase.

Sophomore Rep. Todd Young (R-Pa.) agreed, saying that House leaders emphasized that “there must be unity but not unanimity” on what course of action to take.

“It really is unclear now where this [fiscal debate] will end up,” Young said.

“We certainly are aware that we control one half of one third of the government,” five-termer Dent said, strongly hinting that many of his colleagues were uneasy about what public opinion would be toward them if they were held responsible for not raising the debt ceiling. “Sequestration might be a better point of leverage for us [on concessions] with the White House.”

He added that “sequestration will be implemented only by inaction from the White House, as the ‘fiscal cliff’ situation was at the end of the year. At some point, the president has to be concerned about the pending cuts sequestration will make in discretionary, domestic spending. And then he’ll sit down and talk with us about compromise.”

Dent, Young and other Republican lawmakers who Human Events talked to emphasized that their retreat did not formulate policy or work out a course of action to take, that the participants and their leaders spoke in very general terms.

“It was not unlike your typical House Republican Conference,” said Young.

MORE: Rep. Mick Mulvaney: “no one is talking about default, no one wants to default.”

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