House GOP freshman says some members want Social Security to be tackled with debt ceiling vote 

Rep. Todd Rokita, a Republican freshman from Indiana, on Thursday said that one of the ideas “percolating” among GOP members is addressing Social Security reform through the negotiations on the debt limit increase.

Rokita, speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the American Spectator and held at the offices of Americans for Tax Reform, cautioned that this was not an official Republican position, but one of the many ideas being floated around by some members. He said that House GOP leadership is having ongoing meetings with different groups within the Republican caucus to gather ideas going into the debt limit negotiations.

Of the broader debt ceiling battle, Rotika said, “This has become the hill to fight on.”

There wasn't much that could be accomplished in the short-term fight over the budget for the rest of this year, but he said, “the President owns the economy,” and thus saw the debt limit fight as a great opportunity to get “permanent, structural reform.”

By “permanent” and “structural,” he said he meant changes that could not be easily undone by future Congresses, such as a balanced budget amendment. Without something along those lines, he said he wouldn't support raising the debt limit.

“We can default,” he said, when asked what would happen if the debt ceiling were not raised and the U.S. needed to issue new debt.

His argument was that this generation could deal with the consequences of that because they have gotten the nation into its current shape, but it wasn't fair to keep kicking the can down the road and imposing consequences on future generations.

But he said he would vote for a debt limit increase if there were some fundamental reforms attached, because then he could at least tell future generations that we had changed the long-term trajectory and were on the right track.


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