The House Republicans seem to be emerging from their Williamsburg retreat with a united approach to the debt ceiling issue, however. Raise the debt ceiling for three months and couple it with a cut off of congressional pay if the Democratic-majority Senate fails to pass a budget, as it has for the last three years.
This is similar to the approached advocated by former Bush budget negotiator Keith Hennessey: Give Democrats an alternative between short-term debt limit increases with no immediate spending cuts and a long-term increase with serious spending cuts.
Senate Democrats are a more attractive target than the president. The NBC/WSJ poll shows only 16 percent with positive feelings toward Majority Leader Harry Reid and 28 percent with negative feelings.
Fully 36 percent have no view, significantly more than the 22 percent with no view about Boehner. That leaves plenty of room to drive Reid’s negatives up. The no-budget, no-pay provision is perhaps a gimmick, but may strike a chord with voters.
And it may help united the 234 House Republicans, 43 percent of whom were first elected in 2010 or are freshmen first elected in 2012. Most share the views and impulses of the tea party movement and are determined to cut government spending.