Presidential contender Tim Pawlenty, negotiating the thorny thicket of the budget impasse in Washington, has come out against House Speaker John Boehner’s latest plan for at least $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit.
On the debt ceiling debate, this appears to put the former Minnesota governor closer to the Tea Party side of the GOP spectrum, which may win him more friends among Republicans in Iowa than in Washington.
Pawlenty, like U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, his Minnesota rival in the GOP nominating contest, has been stumping against an increase in the debt limit. Both are pushing instead for a plan to avoid default only by assuring that bondholders and members of the military continue to get paid after the Aug. 2 deadline the White House has set for an agreement.
"President Obama has run up a dangerous amount of debt since taking office,” Pawlenty said in a statement Tuesday that both praises and differs with the Republican House Speaker from Ohio.
“I greatly appreciate Speaker Boehner for courageously leading the fight to stop (Obama) from running up even more,” Pawlenty continued. “Speaker Boehner has now put forth two plans; that would be exactly two plans more than what the President has offered.”
Pawlenty’s lead, however, is buried in the last sentence of his statement:
“The debt limit is a line in the sand where Republicans can force the tough decisions to fix our nation's finances, and taxpayers cannot afford for us to back down now. I am for the plan that will cut spending, cap it, and pass a balanced budget amendment, but unfortunately this latest bill does not accomplish that."
GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey released a letter to a party committee questioning the judgment and competency of Deputy Chairman Chris Fields just days ahead of the election for party officers in St. Cloud Saturday.