Debt Ceiling Deal? House to Vote to Raise Limit Next Week, Says Rep. Cantor

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va.
By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON -- The Republican-controlled House will vote next week to permit the government to borrow more money to meet its obligations, a move aimed at heading off a market-rattling confrontation with President Barack Obama over the so-called debt limit.

Full details aren't settled yet, but the measure would give the government about three more months of borrowing authority beyond a deadline expected to hit as early as mid-February, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday.

The legislation wouldn't require immediate spending cuts as earlier promised by GOP leaders like Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Instead, it's aimed at forcing the Democratic-controlled Senate to join the House in debating the federal budget. It would try to do so by conditioning pay for members of Congress on passing a congressional budget measure.

"We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem," Boehner told GOP lawmakers at a retreat in Williamburg, Va. "The principle is simple: 'no budget, no pay.'"

The Senate hasn't passed a budget since 2009, which has drawn lots of criticism from Republicans but protected Democrats controlling the chamber from politically difficult votes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid welcomed the House GOP move.

"It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage," said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson. "If the House can pass a clean debt-ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it."

GOP leaders have been grappling with how to gain leverage in their battles with Obama over the budget. Boehner successfully won about $2 trillion in spending cuts as a condition of increasing the government's borrowing cap in 2011.

Obama, however, was dealt a stronger hand by his re-election in November and successfully pressed through a 10-year, $600 billion increase on upper-bracket tax payers earlier this month.

Other choke points remain, including sharp across-the-board spending cuts that would start to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs alike on March 1 and the possibility of a partial government shutdown with the expiration of a temporary budget measure on March 27.

Failing to meet those deadlines would have far less serious consequences than defaulting on U.S. obligations like payments to bondholders, Social Security recipients and myriad other commitments, as would happen if the government were pushed into a cash crisis and was no longer able to borrow to make payments. A situation like that would likely cause a meltdown in financial markets and inflame voters already disgusted with Congress.

Boehner has previously invoked a promise that any increase in the government's borrowing cap would be matched, dollar for dollar, by spending cuts or "reforms" that could include curbs on the long-term growth in retirement programs such as Medicare. Friday's announcement did not repeat that specific promise.

"Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending," Boehner said. "The Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget for four years. That is a shameful run that needs to end, this year."

The measure picked up support from key GOP conservatives, including the current and former chairmen of the Republican Study Committee, a powerful group inside the House GOP.

"In order to allow time for the Senate to act, next week's bill will extend the debt limit for three months," the Study Committee said Friday in a statement. "This is a necessary first step as we work to halt the decline of America and puts the focus where it belongs: on the Senate who has failed to do their jobs to pass a budget for more than three years." The statement was issued by RSC Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.), and former chairmen Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

Obama's budget is due early next month but is expected to be released several weeks later.

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191 Comments

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abcstarfox

Boehner and his henchmen could not care less abou this country.
Just their Norquist pledge, party first....and their own personal profit.

January 21 2013 at 1:19 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
democrackso

boehnerisababy
Maybe too much spray on tan?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The racist liberal is back to posting comments about the color of a person's skin. What a bigot.

January 20 2013 at 10:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

luckycur
Go back to school and this time pay attention. Presidents do not, and cannot spend one penny without the approval of the Congress & Senate. Thus the need to raise the debt ceiling to pay off our PAST debt

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Oh you must mean all my past debt Unluckycad, darling. Thank you so much for pointing that out dear.

January 20 2013 at 9:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
RonRuthNik

The house Repubs blinked? It have been more satisfying if they simply declared that 'honor' was the most important thing, and all commited classic hara-kiri. However, that does require that the individual value 'honor' above all else, and the Repubs have no such individuals in their ranks. Not to say the Dems are a whole LOT better.......but your odds are better at finding an honorable individual in that group.

January 20 2013 at 7:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RonRuthNik's comment
mrspelosi

Darling democrats and honorable should never be used in the same sentence. How unfortunate that you three wander through life in a state of confusion, dears.

January 20 2013 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sonny

Republican should rename their part "Spelunkers" as much as they keep caving...

January 20 2013 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
doughopping

How many times did the Democrats try to hold the Republicans hostage to raising the debt ceiling during Bush's 8 years? You know, the debt ceiling that paid for fighting two wars that never quite made it into the budget?

January 20 2013 at 1:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
my444cars

"It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage," no republican ever said that. reid, i publicly call you a liar, and your not man enough to acknowledge the fact that i called you a stinking liar in front of the entire universe

January 20 2013 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
poolcue1950

JUST WOULD LIKE TO SAY THE GOP WANTS ALL THE PREIDENTS POLICYS TO FAIL .BAROSSO SAID THAT ON CNN TODAY .WHO NEEDS THEM WHAT A BUNCH OF RACEIST HIPPERCRITES FILLED WITH HATE .POOR BABY .

January 20 2013 at 12:50 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to poolcue1950's comment
boehnerisababy

BOO..........HOO.........HOO!!!!!!!!! Im still trying to figure out why we republicans lost the 2012 elections.

January 20 2013 at 12:33 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to boehnerisababy's comment
boehnerisababy

Maybe too much spray on tan?

January 20 2013 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to boehnerisababy's comment
democrackso

More racist comments from the liberal bigot.

January 20 2013 at 10:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Tom

Because there are more lazy than hard working

January 20 2013 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evi

One way to start on spending cuts is to STOP approving NEW PORK and do away with the old pork. Once that is done, check all the monies that go to the countries who hate us and start cutting there. That would be a start to the problem.

January 20 2013 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply