Washington (CNN) - With a showdown over raising the debt limit looming, House Republican leaders said Tuesday they will hold a series of "listening sessions" for rank-and-file GOP members when Congress returns from its break next week. The sessions are designed to get feedback on how to frame the controversial upcoming vote to raise the nation's debt limit, according to several GOP sources on a conference call for House Republicans.
The meetings will be coordinated by House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, with Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Michigan, laying out the issues related to the debt ceiling, and trying to get consensus from GOP lawmakers about what conditions they want to place on any vote to raise the borrowing limit. McCarthy and Ryan held similar sessions in the weeks leading up to the vote on the House GOP budget plan.
The GOP sources on Tuesday's conference call told CNN that Speaker John Boehner restated his insistence that there would be no vote to authorize additional borrowing authority for the Treasury Department without conditions attached to it.
"The speaker made it very clear, and he's been very consistent about this, that there will be no debt ceiling increase by the Republican conference without significant spending cuts and structural reforms in spending in Washington," said one Republican lawmaker who declined to talk publicly about the members-only call.
Congressional Republicans have been saying for weeks - both publicly and in private meetings with President Barack Obama - they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without conditions controlling federal spending. However, Republicans have not yet come to agreement among themselves about what those conditions should be. Some say there should be spending cuts, others call for spending caps, and many say there must be a balanced budget amendment to go along with any vote to raise the debt limit.
GOP aides said when Boehner was asked when the vote would take place, he said it was his intention to have the vote "sooner rather than later." One aide said the timing depended on what proposals emerged from the administration.
House GOP leaders hope to use the upcoming sessions on the subject to sort through the ideas and find agreement. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia was tapped by Boehner to serve on the bipartisan working group that Vice President Joe Biden is leading on ways to reduce the deficit. The group's first meeting is scheduled for May 5.
Meanwhile, pressure is on House Republicans not to vote to raise the debt ceiling under any condition. The Tea Party Patriots announced Tuesday that it is organizing an effort to mobilize its supporters to visit Washington next week to urge Republicans to oppose any vote to raise the debt limit.
CNN is told that one Republican on the call argued to GOP colleagues that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was trying to pressure Congress to raise the debt ceiling but maintained that there were several instances in the past when Treasury waited for months before raising it.
Another GOP member raised concerns about the so-called "gang of six" plan that a group of bipartisan senators is crafting to address the deficit could include proposals to close tax loopholes as a way to raise revenue.
According to one GOP member, Boehner "made clear no proposals including a tax increase" would be considered by House Republicans.
Democrats and left-leaning outside groups have pushed hard to ratchet up pressure on GOP members over the congressional recess for supporting Ryan's budget plan, which includes a proposal to dramatically change Medicare, but Republicans on the conference call reported that feedback in their districts has been mostly positive. GOP sources on the call stressed there were no complaints or concerns raised about the political backlash over the Medicare plan.
Congressional Republicans have been saying for weeks – both publicly and in private meetings with President Barack Obama – they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without conditions controlling federal spending.
This is exactly the appropriate time to demand federal spending cuts, so Bravo to the Republicans for doing what is necessary. Certainly the Democrats would be just fine to raise the debt limit and spend their way right up to the next debt limit, which by the way is exactly what they just did. The time to get control of federal spending is now. And with November's election behind us we have the people to do that.
So let's call this article what it really is "Republicans try to agree on the demands to be levied on the American people while keeping the debt ceiling hostage". The debt ceiling is going to be raised - no question. Republicans just want to introduce maximum turmoil into the economy so that jobs are not created on Obama's watch.
I think that a recent article had the right approach - Paul Ryan's budget over the next 10 years raises the deficit by $6 trillion dollars (yes, you read that right - even though it purportedly cuts $6 trillion, the debt over those 10 years will still RISE $6 trillion with Ryan's plan). Republicans heartily endorsed that budget, so they should also heartily endorse a raise in the debt ceiling by 6 trillion dollars. If they don't go for that, then they are hypocrites (not that that's exactly news, just another affirmation). C'mon Dems - call their bluff...
And the war on the middle class and poor continues...
I sure hope they mention that the GOP raised the debt limit 7 Timesduring the Bush Presidency with absolutely no complaints. WHAT HYPOCRISY, they now have a problem with it, but it is just a coincidence that there is a Democrat in the White House.
Bobby Jindal's mother went in labor in India but made it back to the U.S. just in time to give birth to him. Read it for yourself.
P.S. Both of Jindal parents were born in India, not one was a U.S. citizen.
WOW.... I see now why Tea-Publicans have no shame and no fear of lying to the public. They lie to each other.
"GOP sources on the call stressed there were no complaints or concerns raised about the political backlash over the Medicare plan."
Now that statement does not jive with what I have been seeing and hearing. Somebody here is lying big time. Either someone has doctored all the videos to make them seem like Republicans are catching flack in their home districts or they are, in fact, catching flack in their home districts.
America is finally waking up to what the republicans are up to. Hold the country hostage over the debt ceiling. Bring us to the brink of another depression so they can sneak in more favors for their "corporate sponsers." They will pay dearly if they cost us this fragile recovery we are in. Not only will they be defeated in 2012 but they will go down in history for the thugs and crooks they are.
So many dogs. So many ponies. The three ring circus means nothing, but the ring master is all important. It's not whether they'll pass legislation to increase, it's who'll hold the reighns while the beast pulls the cart. And guess what, your not riding in the cart, you're pulling it.