The Morning Line: House GOP Heads to White House After Blocking Debt Limit Hike

The U.S. Capitol; Getty Images

By David Chalian and Terence Burlij

Who says Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything?

On Tuesday‘s PBS NewsHour, Judy Woodruff got Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., to agree that Tuesday night’s vote on raising the debt limit was “a joke.”

If the purpose of the vote was to send a message, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his members will get to assess Wednesday if that message was received. The bill to increase the debt limit without any spending cuts failed, 318 to 97, without a single Republican vote.

House Republicans will take that tally sheet to the White House Wednesday morning as the conference prepares to meet with President Obama to discuss the path forward on deficit reduction and, ultimately, raising the debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline.

Rep. Boehner also plans to show up at the White House with a new letter signed by 150 economists backing his proposal to make spending cuts in an amount greater than the amount requested in the debt limit increase.

The 10 a.m. EDT meeting is closed to the press to allow for a more candid exchange of ideas according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. This will be the first time the president has met with the full House GOP conference since it became the majority party in that chamber in January.

Following Tuesday night’s session, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, “[This] vote illustrates that there is no support in the people’s House for a debt limit increase without real spending cuts and binding budget process reforms.”

Just prior to the vote, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., described the House activity thusly: “Look, you know, it’s politics. We get it. It’s a sham.”

Jackie Calmes of the New York Times has the vote breakdown by party.

“Voting against the measure were 236 Republicans and 82 Democrats. No Republicans voted in favor.

“The showdown over the issue is likely to continue well into the summer, with consequences for both parties and, potentially, for the economy and Wall Street, where the bond market in particular is watching the partisan standoff closely. Yet for all the talk of crisis should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says it will run out of room to meet all the government’s obligations without further borrowing, the financial markets are likely to yawn at Tuesday’s proceedings.”

POLITICO’s Jake Sherman reports that House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., made calls to Wall Street executives to assure them that Tuesday’s vote was nothing more than political theater.

THANKS, BUT NO THANKS

A group of Iowa Republicans took a private jet to New Jersey Tuesday looking to convince Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider his resistance to running for the 2012 GOP nomination.

Instead, what they got was a commitment from Christie to speak at an education summit next month in Iowa hosted by Gov. Terry Branstad.

Iowa businessman Bruce Rastetter, one of the organizers of a movement to draft Christie, told the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs that the meeting lived up to expectations.

“It was exactly what we intended it to be, short of him saying he’d run,” Rastetter said. “He understands the country’s problems, but feels very strongly that he has that commitment to New Jersey to continue to serve.”

Christie has repeatedly made clear his reluctance to running for president in 2012, so the fact that the group of Iowans would travel to New Jersey to persuade him otherwise is yet another strong signal that Republicans are not thrilled with their options.

When former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced last month he would not run for president a second time, it left Iowa GOP caucus-goers, many of whom are evangelicals, without a preferred candidate.

A number of contenders are expected to seek the social conservative mantle as a critical part of their coalition, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

One thing is clear after Tuesday: It won’t be Christie.

Still, the trip to New Jersey wasn’t a total loss for the Iowans. While departing empty-handed politically, Christie sent them away with full stomachs, thanks to a supper spread of chicken, rib-eye and sweet corn.

TWITTER WOES

By now, no doubt, you’ve heard about the lewd photo sent from the Twitter account of Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

The tweet was addressed to a 21-year-old female journalism student in Seattle.

That may be all you know about the incident, and that’s where Rep. Weiner clearly hopes to leave it. In a testy question-and-answer session with reporters Tuesday, Weiner clearly wanted to move beyond the controversy.

“I am not going to permit myself to be distracted by this issue any longer,” the congressman said. But with many questions still unanswered, it’s unlikely going to be that easy for him.

Rep. Weiner is seen as a top-tier contender to become the next mayor of New York City. When you mix his political ambition, history of accessibility to the press and a driven, tabloid journalism culture in his home town, it’s clear that the last chapter on this strange tale has not yet been written.

PLACE YOUR BETS

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is three Miami Heat wins away from a case of Texas barbecue sauce after his team defeated the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Scott and Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a friendly wager prior to the start of the seven-game series, with the Florida governor bidding a Key Lime pie if the Heat were to fall to the Mavs.

In a press release announcing the bet, the governors showed that hoops smack-talk could extend off the basketball court.

“It might be warm in Texas, but there is no way the Dallas Mavericks will be able to withstand the Heat,” Scott said.

Perry responded by digging up LeBron James’ decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami in the offseason. “LeBron may have taken his talents to South Beach, but there’s no way he’ll be taking the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy there this season,” Perry said.

The last time the teams met for the championship was in the 2006 Finals, and Dallas blew a 2-0 series lead. So despite Tuesday’s strong showing by the Heat, Scott would probably be wise to wait a little while longer before warming up the grill.