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Club for Growth Gives GOP Cover on Debt Vote

The conservative Club for Growth announced Tuesday that it will not oppose the House vote to temporarily extend the government’s borrowing capacity, a move that could provide the GOP rank and file cover to approve the measure.

House Republican leaders are bringing a bill to the floor Wednesday that would raise the debt ceiling without making commensurate cuts — the first time they have dropped that demand since 2011’s debt limit fight — but contingent upon Senate Democrats approving a budget, which they have not done in more than three years.

“The Club for Growth will not oppose tomorrow’s vote on the debt ceiling,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. “The Club for Growth will, on the other hand, strongly oppose any efforts during the upcoming debate over the continuing resolution and sequester that fail to arrest out-of-control spending and put sensible limits on the growth of government.”

Despite the group’s statement, it’s still unclear whether Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, will have enough votes to pass the extension. Republicans have been making political hay out of Senate Democrats’ failure to move on a budget for years, and approving the measure would put some political pressure on Congressional Democrats to outline which cuts and reforms they would be willing to make as part of a larger deal.

As far as a broader deal goes, lawmakers are still very much stalemated, especially because Republicans insist they will not approve any measure that raises further revenues and Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, say they will not consider any agreement that does not boost revenue.

The test vote in the House is crucial in gauging the temperature of the chamber’s Republican Conference. The last major test vote Boehner put before his members, a late-December vote to let top rates expire on income over $1 million, imploded before leaders could even bring the bill to the floor.

Another conservative group, FreedomWorks, announced that it would mark down the roll call as a “key vote” and would be urging Republicans to vote “no.”

“Once again, Republican leadership is negotiating with itself to temporarily bail the big spenders out by lifting the U.S. debt limit for four months, with no immediate accompanying budget reforms or spending reductions,” FreedomWorks Legislative Counsel Dean Clancy said in a statement. “Our government is almost $16.5 trillion in debt. That exceeds the entire annual output of the U.S. economy and equals more than $52,000 for every citizen. If that’s not scary enough, those numbers don’t include the more than $100 trillion in unfunded entitlement promises. If this pattern continues, the major credit agencies have threatened once again to downgrade our nation’s credit. This will make paying down the debt even more difficult. And amid all of this, House leadership wants to raise the debt ceiling clean? Get serious, guys. Do your jobs.”

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