Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) warned House Republicans not to hold the debt ceiling for political leverage Friday, contradicting Republicans who have strongly hinted at their plans to do just that.
"They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Everybody’s now talking about, ‘Oh, here comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end, you know it’s gonna happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington and on television, and say: ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys will be held responsible.’ And they’ll cave."
"He can't keep thinking the way he's thought the last few months without having a disaster on his hands," said Gingrich of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Gingrich's comments underscore the division among Republicans over whether to use the necessary debt ceiling increase to extract spending cuts not included in the deal resolving the so-called "fiscal cliff." Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Wednesday that Republicans should be willing to risk a government shutdown in exchange for a routine increase needed to pay the country's existing bills.
Republicans are meeting this month in Williamsburg, Va., to discuss their debt ceiling strategy, reported The New York Times, and Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told the paper that the president will have to "engage and accept reality" in exchange for an increase.
President Barack Obama has refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. ""While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed," he said late Tuesday after the passage of the "fiscal cliff" deal.