One of Mitt Romney’s fiercest criticisms of Rick Santorum is that Santorum voted to hike the debt ceiling. But, as it turns out, that’s a criticism that applies equally well to almost all of the current congressional members backing Romney.
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for us to keep raising the debt ceiling every year. He voted five times to raise the debt ceiling without getting compensating cuts in spending,” Romney said yesterday in Ohio.
Portman isn’t the only Romney endorsee who voted to hike the debt ceiling in August.
In fact, 91 percent of current congressional members who have endorsed Romney (and were in office at the time of the vote) voted to increase the debt limit in August. On the House side, the holdouts among the 63 members who endorsed Romney were Rob Bishop (Utah), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Connie Mack (Fla.), Todd Rokita (Ind.), and Michael Turner (Ohio). On the Senate side, Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) were the only two among the thirteen current senators who have endorsed Romney to not back the bill.
UPDATE: A couple of readers have pointed out that since the 2011 debt limit deal included spending cuts, it shouldn’t be viewed as being in the same category as previous debt ceiling hikes, such as those that Santorum voted for, which did not include spending cuts to offset the increase.
That’s a fair point, although some Romney endorsers (Sens. Richard Burr, Thad Cochran, Orrin Hatch, Lisa Murkowski, and John Thune) voted for both or one of the debt ceiling increases in 2006 and 2007. That’s just looking at the Senate side; I haven’t reviewed House members’ records on those debt limit increases. And of course, plenty of candidates have differences with their endorsers on issues. Still, for better or worse, Santorum is just one of many congressional Republicans who voted to support the debt ceiling increase.