House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) on July 4 called on Republicans to "stand strong" against efforts by President Obama and the Democrats to demagogue the issue of raising the debt ceiling.
According to the Marietta Daily Journal, Price spoke at the Cobb GOP Independence Day Celebration in Georgia, where he said Obama would use "every demagogic tool in his toolbox" to turn voters away from Republicans. Price said if Republicans reject a debt-ceiling increase, Obama would warn that troops won't get paid, or Social Security or Medicare services would be cut.
The House and Senate returned to Washington on Tuesday with less than one month to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling, after which the Treasury Department says the U.S. would begin defaulting on its debt. Republicans continue to insist that significant spending cuts must be agreed to as part of any deal to increase the debt ceiling.
Perhaps even more importantly, Republicans are insisting that no tax increases be included in the deal. The GOP position on tax increases was made clear on July 4 by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who spoke at the same Cobb GOP event and warned that Congress must work to end excessive government intrusion into the lives of everyday Americans.
"We're standing on the precipice, staring down in the deep chasm of socialism and total government control," he said.
Democrats argue that the GOP objection to any tax increase is unrealistic, and that new government revenues need to be part of the equation.
But in a sign that the two sides are still split, Democrats are reportedly exploring whether Obama could decide to increase the debt ceiling without any approval from Congress. Such a decision could be based on language in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. public debt "shall not be questioned," which Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said could be seen as a way to justify a presidential decision to increase the debt ceiling.
The White House and Democratic leaders are expected to meet Wednesday on the debt ceiling.