Appearing on “Face the Nation” Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann squared off with outspoken Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York about how to tackle the debt ceiling, foreshadowing what's poised to be a major fight early in 2011.
Bachmann told the CBS audience that the country's debt ceiling should not be raised again, which Weiner said would lead to a government shut down.
But Bachmann, who has an online petition against raising the country's debt ceiling, shot back that holding firm on the debt cap wouldn't cause a government stoppage.
“You've got it exactly wrong,” she told Weiner. “That's not what we're looking to do. We are not looking to shut the government down. But at the same time, we're not looking at wanting to continually raise the debt ceiling.”
“I don't know what you call it Michele,” Weiner responded, “but that's shutting down the government.”
The two House members appeared with incoming Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida in a roundtable discussion that got heated several times as everyone tried to get a word in.
There will likely be a vote on raising the debt ceiling early in 2011, something that some Republicans like Bachmann have insisted the government should not do. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that it's necessary to avoid the government defaulting on its debt.
Appearing on the show via satellite from Minneapolis, Bachmann accused Democrats of only being interested in the debt now that they have lost control of the House.
“For two years these were big, wild-down party spenders, and now they're interested in deficit reduction,” Bachmann said.
Weiner, however, said now that Republicans are in the majority they will have to make tough decisions that go beyond campaign rhetoric.
“It's their ship to run now,” he said. “That's the responsibility. This is an adult game.”
When asked about divisions within the GOP, Bachmann said the party would work together successfully in the new Congress.
“I think you see a fairly cohesive group,” said Bachmann, who made an unsuccessful bid in November to join the Republican House leadership. “We have a singularity of purpose in that we want to be able to get the budget in order. I think that's job number one.”