Friday, April 29, 2011

Tea Party Effect - More Democrats threaten to vote against raising borrowing limit

Expect most of the Democrats that are from Red States and other competitive states to talk a good game of deficit and spending reductions. If it is determined that their vote is not needed by the Democrat leaders, they will vote with the Republicans on this issue. It remains to be seen what they will do if theirs is the pivotal vote.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can afford to ignore the Tea Party.

A growing number of Democrats are threatening to defy the White House over the national debt, joining Republican calls for deficit cuts as a requirement for consenting to lift the country’s borrowing limit.

The tension is the latest illustration of how the tea-party-infused GOP is driving the debate in Washington over federal spending. And it shows how the debt issue is testing the Obama administration’s clout as Democrats, particularly those from politically competitive states, resist White House arguments against setting conditions on legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

Polls show why the debt vote is so difficult for Democrats, who next year are expected to face an uphill battle to retain their narrow Senate majority in an election likely to focus heavily on spending issues.

Just 16 percent of Americans favor lifting the debt ceiling, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC survey published this month. Nearly six in 10 independents opposed it. Democrats were divided, with nearly half saying they did not know enough to have an opinion.

“If you’re in a red state, if you’re going to be perceived as a moderate, you want to be able to say that you’re for cutting spending,” said Democratic strategist J.B. Poersch, former executive director of the party’s Senate campaign committee.

Manchin kicked off a statewide tour this week by announcing his support for a GOP-backed bill to impose spending caps. The measure is viewed by some lawmakers as a possible point of compromise in the debt-limit debate.

He has been asking audiences for a show of hands to test support for lifting the borrowing cap, with overwhelming numbers expressing opposition.

“You have to pay your debt, but when you find yourself in a hole, you ought to stop digging,” Manchin said Thursday in a statement from his office.

Read full Washington Post article here.

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