Conservative GOP lawmakers say they’ll go along with debt deal

Any doubts about passage of the GOP debt plan were allayed Tuesday when a small but influential clutch of conservative lawmakers signaled that they will go along with the plan, as long as top leaders keep to a promise to vote soon on a 2014 budget plan that would balance within the next decade.

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he and others would hold top leaders to their promise: “In 90 days, this is going to be the ultimate test of the relevancy of those we entrust with those leadership positions. And I believe there’d be hell to pay if they squander this.”

Schweikert and five other conservatives attending a Tuesday lunch meeting with reporters sounded generally lukewarm about the debt ceiling proposal, with some saying they would prefer to see the issue taken up immediately.

“I can’t get to yes on this,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “I’m going to vote on principle and I understand the principle of the next three months, but I think that every vote you take should be on principle.”

But Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said he had no concern with delaying debate on the debt ceiling for the next few months because top GOP leaders “actually have an agenda. The agenda is to get to balance in 10 years, to have a balanced budget – not just to pass a budget that balances in 10 years, but to actually achieve balance in 10 years."

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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Felicia Sonmez · January 22, 2013