Thursday, July 21, 2011

READ: L.A. Times Op-Ed Featuring Ben Quayle: Tells Colleagues Must Pay Our Bills, Even If Administration Is "Fear Mongering"

Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) is featured in an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times.  He is held up as an example of the group of freshmen Republicans in the House of Representatives who have had a major impact on the recent deficit-reduction negotiations tied to raising the nation's debt ceiling.

Quayle talked about the need to make sure that the U.S. does not default on payments on the debt (or Social Security, Medicare, military and veterans), but also noted that he believes that the Executive branch is "fear mongering" on the consequences of not getting the issue resolved before August 2:

Quayle was elected with "tea party" support, but he's not a bomb-thrower; he says he's willing to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling at some point. "I do not want to have a default," he said. But he's not willing to compromise easily. The debt ceiling, he says, gives conservatives the leverage they need to force deep spending cuts. "This is the time for us to rein in federal spending," he said.
. . .

And there's a deep divide of mistrust between House conservatives and the Obama administration. Like many Republicans, Quayle says he's skeptical of the administration's claims that Aug. 2 is a real drop-dead date and that the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling would be catastrophic.

"There has been a lot of fear-mongering coming out of the administration," he said. Even if the debt ceiling doesn't rise, he said, "I believe we can still pay the interest on our debt, pay Social Security and Medicare, pay military salaries and veterans' benefits. And they can do some prioritization after that."

Quayle says his constituents back home in Phoenix expect him to rein in the budget — and to hang tough.

"Some don't want us to raise the debt ceiling at all," he said. "I tell them that even though we don't like the debt that's been accumulated, we need to honor it. You have a teenager who misuses a credit card, you tear up the card, but you still have to pay the bill."
The veteran Washington reporter McManus (who wrote the op-ed) notes that Quayle and his colleagues are going to have to figure out if they can agree to a deal with most - but not all - of what they and their Tea Party supporters were looking for.  (Read the entire op-ed here.)

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