Jul 9, 2017 - Politics & Policy

The demise of the deficit hawks

Andrew Harnik / AP

Conservatives are curiously zen about the debt ceiling hike, which points to a tectonic shift in the politics of debt now that we've entered the Trump Era. Not a single major conservative outside group is demanding the White House slash spending in exchange for their cooperation raising the debt ceiling (which will have to happen in October). Privately, most top Trump administration officials are delighted conservatives aren't pressuring them.

One high-profile conservative leader — summing up a view I'm hearing across the movement — told me his group doesn't think it's a good idea to play chicken with Republican leadership and the President over the debt ceiling as they often did with Barack Obama. "We've been there before, and Republicans always lose," he said.

Between the lines: The politics of debt have shifted under Trump; top White House officials are now weighing tax cuts that could substantially increase the deficit in the short-term.

What's next: Conservative groups like Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the Koch network are leaving open the possibility that they'll release a set of demands over the debt ceiling; but they've not made it a top priority. Instead, they're focusing most of their firepower on tax reform and health care.

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