The debate staredown in Washington took a strange twist Thursday night as the fight turned GOP vs. SCGOP. Republican House Speaker John Boehner pulled his revised bill that would have raised the debt ceiling because he could not garner enough votes from fellow Republicans to pass the measure.
The five GOP Congressman from South Carolina said “No,” despite relentless pressure from the House Speaker. Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn also opposed the plan because it required cuts to entitlement programs.
Economists say the nation risks default if the debt ceiling is not raised by the Tuesday August 2 deadline. Appearing on CNN Friday morning, freshman Fourth District Congressman Trey Gowdy said he has no problem voting for raising the debt ceiling, however it has to be accompanied by more significant cuts and a balanced budget amendment that is not in the latest version brought before the House Thursday.
“Nobody wants a default. I haven’t met a soul that wants a default. Nor do we want a downgrade, which is coming if we do not bend the spending arc in this country. I happen to think we can do both. We can avert a default and bend the spending arc and avoid the downgrade. Let’s not kid ourselves, a downgrade is just as insidious as a default over the long-term.”
A number of Democrats and moderate Republicans are putting the blame on conservative Republicans associated with the Tea Party for blocking efforts to secure a compromise bill. Gowdy says the Tea Party is being used as a convenient scapegoat.
“I smile because the Tea Party is blamed. Some of the guys I was in the room with last night have been fiscal conservatives long before there was ever a phrase called ‘tea party,'” he said, “I know it’s convenient to blame the Tea Party for it; if just happens to be demonstrably false.” He pointed to Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Pence (R-IN), and Jeb Hensarling ( R-TX) as examples.
Gowdy says fiscally responsible lawmakers in Washington have for years been calling for a long-term solution to a growing national debt crisis. He said now is the time for Washington to take action in getting the nation’s financial house in order and spending within its means.
“These are folks who have voted time and time again to raise the debt ceiling, always promised that we’re going to have a conversation about a long-term systemic fix, and it never comes,” he said in the interview, “So the 75th time we raise the debt ceiling, let’s make sure that’s the last time. I don’t think that’s a radical proposition.”