On Friday, I reported that Heritage Action, the conservative advocacy group that has played a leading role in the effort to defund Obamacare, had urged GOP lawmakers last week to pass a short-term debt-limit extension, even if it was not attached to any spending cuts or budget reforms — a so-called “clean” increase, something that Heritage Action and most Republicans have aggressively opposed since 2010. When House leadership announced its plan for a clean, six-week debt-limit hike, the group declined to “key vote” the measure, citing the need to ”refocus the debate on Obamacare,” but also reiterating its opposition to a clean increase, a move that a number of Republicans found to be hypocritical.
Heritage Action communications director Dan Holler strongly denied my sources’ account of a meeting that took place last Tuesday, during which they said the group had advocated for a clean increase. Since the story ran, the sources have stood by their claims, and several others present at the Tuesday meeting have come forward to as well, characterizing Heritage Action’s denials as completely false.
Others point to a Wall Street Journal profile this weekend of Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham, which appears to corroborate what was reported [emphasis added]:
Mr. Needham thinks, by the way, that the stalemate may drag on well beyond Oct. 17, the day the U.S. Treasury may reach the federal borrowing limit. He has little problem with the latest strategy to pass a temporary debt-ceiling extension, viewing the debt-default debate as a distraction from the battle over the future of ObamaCare funding . . .
On the latest offer from House Republicans—a short-term extension of the debt ceiling—Mr. Needham calls it a shrewd move by Speaker John Boehner: “We’ve got to get back to the discussion of ObamaCare, not the typical Washington food fight.”