Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona came out swinging against the House conservatives that are rallying around attaching a Balanced Budget Amendment to any attempt to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. In a speech laced with mockery and jabs on the Senate floor Wednesday, McCain called the Tea Party’s insistence to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment by August 2 “worse than foolish” and “bizzaro.”
McCain said he supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, and is confident it will pass someday but said it was “unfair” to the American people to “hold out” and not raise the debt ceiling. He had supported the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that passed the House last week but emphasized it wasn’t worth the risk to allow the U.S. to default on its loans so that the amendment can pass.
There are five days left before the Treasury has said the government will run out of money to pay its bills. Any amendment to the Constitution needs to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The most recent amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1992, limiting Congressional pay raises until the start of the next term of office.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., unveiled his two-stage plan earlier this week that would allow the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to rise immediately by about $1 trillion in return for $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. It would also call for the House and Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment. The Democrats have said the plan will fall on its face while some conservatives say it doesn’t cut government spending deep enough.
“The idea seems to be if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn en masse against Barack Obama,” McCain said. “Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party hobbits could return to middle earth.”
“This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP nominees,” he added.
Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots told CNN that many Americans support a balanced budget amendment. He said that McCain has "clearly been corrupted by the ring of power” referring to the Lord of the Rings movie.
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