Yesterday was a dramatic day for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who lobbied hard and told his fellow Republicans in no uncertain terms that they had to get behind his budget plan. Boehner will put it to a vote today.
The Tea Party caucus in particular wasn't thrilled with Boehner's plan. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah was at that meeting, where the speaker used some choice words to get his caucus in line and when the speaker turned his way to see where he stood, Chaffetz said he was still voting no.
"I support you, personally, but I just don't support this bill," Chaffetz said he told Boehner.
"I personally have to do what I think is right for the country. I didn't come here to just to go along to get along," Chaffetz added in an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep.
Chaffetz said he doesn't support Boehner's plan - which, according to scoring released by the Congressional Budget Office, yesterday, will cut $22 billion in 2012 and $917 billion over 10 years - because it doesn't go far enough.
"I really truly worry that the debt is one of the single biggest threat to the United States of America, that we're talking about a problem that is multi-trillion in its depth and I think we ought to be cutting more. I just don't think it goes far enough," Chaffetz said.
So what would Chaffetz do? He said he supported the bill passed by the House - but rejected by the Senate - called "Cut, Cap and Balance."
"I truly believe that that solves the underlying problems," he said.
Of course that kind of intransigence is what caused headaches for Boehner, yesterday, and why in an open letter published in the National Review, former Senator Fred Thompson advised the House GOP to "rake in your chips." Thompson advises that there is only so much the GOP can do in one bill and that this is already a victory for them because the country is talking about reining in spending.
"Taking huge, unnecessary risks like this is not consistent with long-term political success," writes Thompson.
Today on the Senate floor, Sen. John McCain had some tough words for those he termed the "tea party hobbits," a term he took from a Wall Street Journal editorial.
"This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees," he said, according to The Los Angeles Times. "The reality is the debt limit will be raised one way or the other.... If conservatives defeat the [GOP] plan, they will not only undermine their House majority, they will go far to reelecting Mr. Obama and making entitlements that much harder to reform."
Steve asked Chaffetz whether standing up for principle at a time when doing so could cause massive unintended consequences was the wise thing to do. Steve pointed to the stock market, which fell nearly 200 points yesterday, and said that anyone lucky enough to have a 401K has lost money. He asked if voting no is worth the pain on everybody's part.
"I think we have to address our national debt," said Chaffetz. "It's approaching 100 percent and to ignore it long term is to everybody's peril."