The second-ranking House Republican declined Wednesday to commit to a pledge gaining traction among some conservatives to oppose any move to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without substantial spending cuts and a balanced-budget amendment.
“I don’t want to sign a pledge that conditions my vote on what the Democrats may or may not do,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “I mean, I’m the majority leader, but I really only control one vote, and that’s mine, and I won’t sign a pledge that conditions my vote on someone else’s on the other side.”
As debt negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House intensify, some Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as more than 100 conservative advocacy groups, have launched a push for a “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge tied to the debt limit. The pledge states that the signers will oppose any move to raise the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by “substantial” spending cuts, caps on federal spending and the passage by both chambers of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
So far, 12 Senate Republicans, 26 House Republicans and six GOP presidential candidates have signed the pledge. Among those pushing the effort is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 170 House conservatives, including Cantor.
House Republican leaders have expressed support for the idea of a balanced-budget amendment, but none has signed the pledge.
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