Washington Extra - Freshman fling
WASHINGTON, April 20
WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - Freshmen are usually low on the totem pole. But the 85 first-term Republicans in the House of Representatives find themselves awash in invitations for meetings and morning coffees with the creme de la creme of Washington and Wall Street.
Reuters reporters Tim Reid and Rachelle Younglai report today that the freshmen are in vogue because their fiscally conservative views could determine the outcome of the upcoming vote to raise America's debt ceiling. The newcomers are told repeatedly that a failure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit will trigger economic calamity, on a global scale.
Take Michael Grimm, a first-term Republican from New York, who said: "I have had meetings in D.C., meetings in New York, meetings with Fortune 500 companies, meetings with financial institutions."
That's a lot of attention for a guy who arrived here barely four months ago.
They may be new, but they are not necessarily impressionable. Reid and Younglai say the intense lobbying effort shows signs of falling flat. One freshman said he would vote "no" unless there are "serious cuts and real systemic reform."
That suggests the traditional allies of Republicans -- big business and banks -- may have little sway over these new men and women on campus.
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Politics, ideology overshadow US debt limit talks
In the looming fight over raising the debt limit, Washington will have its eye on two deadlines: July 2011 and November 2012. The first is the date by which Congress will likely have to act in order to ensure that the United States doesn't default on its $14 trillion in accumulated debt. The second deadline is when President Obama and most members of Congress will face voters. What has often been a routine, if unpleasant, vote could this year turn into a battleground in the 2012 campaign as Republicans and Democrats advance clashing ideological visions of the nation's priorities. [ID:nN20230990]
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