Here’s one for the “I’ll Believe It When I See It” file: Backlash pushes Republicans to seek cuts.

A conservative backlash against Republicans over their deal with Barack Obama to lift taxes has hardened the party leadership’s resolve to demand huge spending cuts as the price for increasing the country’s borrowing limit.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, rejecting Mr Obama’s statement that he would not negotiate over the issue, said the debt ceiling debate in coming months was the ideal time to force the administration to cut outlays.

“The President may not want to have a fight about government spending over the next few months, but it’s the fight he is going to have, because it’s a debate the country needs,” Mr McConnell said in an opinion article on

Mr McConnell, who is up for election in 2014, and his Republican colleagues in the Senate, have been stung by criticism on the right for their role in brokering a deal with the White House over the fiscal cliff.

The final deal, negotiated between Mr McConnell and Joe Biden, the vice-president, was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, marking the first time Republicans in Washington have voted for income tax increases in more than two decades.

The administration had also wanted to adopt a proposal first advanced by Mr McConnell, which would have curtailed the ability of Congress’ to refuse to limit the debt ceiling.

But Mr McConnell no longer seems to support this plan and also says that the fiscal cliff agreement is the last time Republicans will support tax increases.

“The moment he [Obama] and virtually every elected Democrat in Washington signed off on the terms of the current arrangement, it was the last word on taxes. That debate is over,” he said.

Does anyone believe the Republicans will really hold out for budget cuts? I sure don’t after all the white flag waving we have seen.

I sure hope I am wrong, but what I fully expect is another can-kicking exercise in which Republicans cave in on cuts to entitlements in return for Democrats caving in on cuts to military.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock