John Boehner’s real tea party test

House Speaker John Boehner is being widely credited as having emerged victorious from last week’s budget showdown — receiving kudos for extracting nearly $40 billion in budget cuts and uniting a fractious tea party behind the compromise bill.

But, the real test of Boehner’s abilities as a party leader will come next month when Congress begins debate on raising the federal debt ceiling.

How Boehner handles the tea party wing of House GOPers in that legislative fight will be a far more telling window into how much power the movement has within Congress — and how much power Boehner has over the movement — than the narrowly-avoided shutdown.

The simple fact is that there was something well short of unanimity among conservatives and tea party Republicans for the idea of shutting down the government.

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