For GOP Freshman, the Debt Limit is an Early Test

by Robert Costa

Over on the home page, Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) speaks with National Review Online about why he is playing hardball on the debt limit. He also shares his perspective on the conservative push for fiscal reforms to be included with any deal.

Moving forward, “I am hoping to persuade House Republicans to vote to increase the debt ceiling, contingent on the fact that we are putting structural reforms in place,” Johnson says. “If you could really get certification that we have sent a balanced-budget amendment to the states in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, I’d increase it.”

To get the House hustling, especially as Boehner maneuvers, Johnson wants to do more than chastise Obama for his irresponsible leadership — he wants to kickstart the move toward a conservative option, to give Republicans more than a brokered deal to consider.

“I think there is a growing movement to actually pass the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ plan into law,” says Johnson, referring to a plan floated among conservative groups that would have lawmakers cut spending, establish spending caps, and send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for constitutional ratification. “What I am hoping to do is work with House members to craft legislation that they’re satisfied with.”

Johnson acknowledges that he does not have final say on the debt-limit deal. Yet he remains optimistic. “What I am hoping for is that we get a consensus in the Republican party to actually be for something,” he says. “If the House passed these measures and put them into the debt package, it would put the pressure on the Democrats and put pressure on the president.”

More here.

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