Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The cracks in the GOP edifice of party unity are now open fissures. Longtime members of Congress who understand that they have an obligation to govern are openly critical of the Tea Party freshmen extremists who only believe in partisan warfare and their radical ideology.
Long-simmering divisions among Republicans burst into public view Tuesday evening, when GOP senators challenged Tea Party senators on the Senate floor over their refusal to proceed to formal negotiations with Democrats over the federal budget. GOP moderates, conservatives feud over stall tactics on budget:
On one side, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) insisted that the GOP must block any effort to name a conference committee to reconcile differences between the budgets approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate, which proposes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade, and the Republican House, which proposes to eliminate the deficit within 10 years entirely through spending cuts.
Their reason: Democrats can’t be trusted not to sneak in an automatic increase in the federal debt limit.
“This fight right now is the fight over the debt ceiling, because what it would mean if we go to a conference committee is that as sure as night follows day, we would find ourselves in a month or two with a debt ceiling increase coming back ... with no conditions whatsoever,” Cruz said.
On the other side, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine.) questioned that argument, noting that Democrats couldn’t do anything in conference without the approval of the House — which, McCain said, “happens to be a majority of our party.”
“So we don’t trust the majority party on the other side of the [Capitol] to come to conference and not hold to the fiscal discipline that we want to see happen? Isn’t that a little bit bizarre?” McCain said.
McCain and Collins also argued that the stall tactics look ridiculous after months of GOP complaints about the refusal by Senate Democrats to adopt a budget. The first Senate budget in three years won approval 59 days ago, and Republicans have been dragging their feet every since.
“What are we on my side of the aisle doing?” demanded McCain. "We don't want a budget unless -- unless -- we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented."
“We have called repeatedly for a return to regular order in this body,” added Collins. “Well, regular order is going to conference.”