McCain Blasts Tea Party for ‘Foolish’ Demands in Debt Debate

By Eliza

Jul 27, 2011 1:02pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) reports:

As Speaker of the House John Boehner is looking for votes on his House debt bill, one Senate Republican sent a strong message to the Tea Party block in the House and Senate that are still withholding their support: get on board.

Senator John McCain’s, R-AZ., message was in particular aimed at those who are withholding their support for any debt ceiling bill – Republican or Democratic – holding the Balanced Budget Amendment passage as a precondition to the debt limit increase.

“To hold out and say we won't agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution. It’s unfair, it's bizarre,” McCain railed on the Senate floor, “And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better."

Many of the most conservative members of the House have said they will not vote for any debt ceiling increase that does not include a Balanced Budget Amendment and deeper spending cuts. Similarly, some conservatives Republicans in the Senate have said the same.

McCain called this “amazing,” foolish” and “deceiving” that some members believe that this can happen, now with only 6 days left until the nation defaults on its debts with the August 2 deadline for action looming.

“To somehow think or tell our citizens that if we have enough debate and amendment here in the Senate in the short term in the next six days that we will pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution is unfair to our constituents,” McCain said.

McCain is a supporter of a Balanced Budget Amendment but does not believe that the station now, just six days away from the August 2 deadline for action, is the correct time to be pushing for this when it does not stand a chance when connected to the debt ceiling increase.

And then there was a little mocking from the Senator – who has held elected office in the Congress since 1982– for his young counterparts who say that if this plays out like they’d like it to the blame would be put squarely on President Obama and the Democrats, insinuating their theory would not work out as planned.

McCain said that the Reid plan is “full of smoke and mirrors” and chastised President Obama for leading “from behind.”

McCain would vote for the Boehner plan if it passed in the House and was sent to the Senate. Many of McCain’s Republican colleagues in the Senate would not – Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul – have all come out against the Boehner plan, saying they will vote no if the bill comes to the Senate.

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