House Republicans to vote next week on three-month extension of debt ceiling
January 18th, 2013
12:43 PM ET
1 year ago

House Republicans to vote next week on three-month extension of debt ceiling

Williamsburg, Virginia (CNN) – While at a GOP retreat, House Republican leaders on Friday announced a vote next week on a three-month extension of the debt limit, with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget or else go without pay.

The added condition to the short term extension bill aims to force the Democratic-led Senate to pass a budget–something the upper chamber hasn't done in four years.

"That is a shameful run that needs to end, this year," House Speaker John Boehner said in his closing remarks at the retreat, according to excerpts provided by his office. "We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem."

Building onto that, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement that if the Senate or House fail to pass a budget in three months, members of Congress "will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay."

House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy told CNN that "what we're trying to do is put us on a path to a balanced budget."

"April 15th is the deadline for both houses to pass a budget," he continued. "A budget is a roadmap to not only where you are but where you can go. Unfortunately the House has passed one the last two times, but the Senate has not, and what has that created? A $16 trillion debt. An idea of not knowing where our economy is gonna go."

The short-term extension strategy represents a departure from recent discussions where Republicans pushed that any increase in the debt limit must include spending cuts that amounted to the same size of the increase.

And Republican leaders seem to be steering clear of any suggestions that the party is willing to risk allowing the government to default on its loans–the consequence should the debt ceiling be kept as is–as a way to put pressure on the White House and Senate Democrats to carve out drastic spending cuts.

"We are not going to default- I don't know of anybody, and I move in fairly fiscally conservative circles within our party – none of us are talking about default," said conservative GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. He also signaled he agreed with the new House GOP strategy.

"If you can figure out ways to get little types of reforms, little fixes for small extensions I don't find that objectionable," Mulvaney told reporters.

This is a notable shift, given that Mulvaney, and many of his colleagues elected in 2010, pushed for major spending cuts in exchange for increasing the debt limit.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded Friday, saying the Senate would be "happy to consider" the House bill if it would "avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations."

"We have an obligation to pay the bills we have already incurred – bills for which many House Republicans voted," Jentleson continued, though he didn't address the Republicans' condition about passing a budget.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, agreed with House Republicans' insistence on a budget from the Senate.

“It’s not the discussion about the debt and budget failures that has put our nation’s credit rating at risk-it’s the unsustainable debt, the out-of-control Washington spending, and the failure to budget that got us here. It’s time to change, and the debt ceiling discussion is the perfect time for that debate,” he said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also responded to the news Friday afternoon.

"We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on," he said.

President Barack Obama, however, has previously closed the door to negotiating over the debt ceiling or passing a solution in increments, saying "America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they've already racked up."

"They're going to have to send me something that's sensible. And we shouldn't be doing this ... on a one to three-month timeframe," Obama said at a news conference on Monday. "Why would we do that? This is the United States of America. ... What, we can't manage our affairs in such a way that we pay our bills and we provide some certainty in terms of how we pay our bills?"

The necessity of raising the debt ceiling comes shortly after the fiscal cliff, which found Republicans and Democrats at stalemate for weeks over averting tax increases and spending cuts that they had designed to trigger if they could not reach a deal.

"I'm not going to have a monthly or every-three-months conversation about whether or not we pay our bills," Obama said. "Because that in and of itself does severe damage. Even the threat of default hurts our economy. It's hurting our economy as we speak. We shouldn't be having that debate."

Republican Rep. John Fleming, R-Louisiana, said Thursday the short-term extension idea came out of an ad hoc group led by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, and Boehner signaled he supported the approach.

At one of the closed door sessions at the retreat, rank and file members viewed a slide show that highlighted how one of the last major deficit reduction packages – known as Gramm-Rudman – was preceded by a series of short term extensions in the debt ceiling.

Fleming said many conservatives backed the idea.

"I think we're all pretty much on board," Fleming said, and noted that impetus behind it was to keep the pressure on for reaching a broader deal to cut spending.

– CNN’s Paul Courson contributed to this report.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • House
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    GOP is in big trouble in 2014.

    January 18, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Babyboomer

    Like any of them are really going to go without their paychecks. Give me a break...

    January 18, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    Obama said : """I'm not going to have a monthly or every-three-months conversation about whether or not we pay our bills," Obama said ""

    Well, to be perfecly honest, as a Voter – he's said he put the cap at 250 K throughout his campaign – then he went to 450K for the "fiscal cliff" scenario –

    SO – let's see – if he's going to go back on his word – for the "debt ceiling" scenario.

    I think he's going to end up doing this thing every 3 months, or sooner, as long as those republicans keep his hands tied up with everything else , til 2014 , otherwise he's not going to get much done til after the mid-terms.

    January 18, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. TomInRochNY

    People got ticked at the GOP during the last debt debacle, so they're switching their strategy to hold something else hostage instead. How about stop playing games and compromise?

    January 18, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Alexis S. J.

    The Tea-Republicans: Children pretending to play adult politics.

    January 18, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. JD

    Harry Reid is a genius. He has put out nothing so there's nothing to criticize. And who presides over the senate? The VP. And he takes little to no criticism.

    It's clear that the democrat political machine is unstoppable. Just raise the debt ceiling. Most of president Obama's supporters don't realize or care that when the president talks about it being past obligations that it's from the democrats from '07 to '11.

    Someone go ahead and parrot "two unfunded wars". Bawk "two unfunded wars".

    January 18, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. tony

    I think we need election reform PDQ. Independent redistricting like we just had in California. The numbers split between parties in Congress are numerically just about opposite of the number of votes cast, and that's not Democracy by any definition.

    January 18, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    By law, Congress can't go without pay. So this proposal is a Trojan Horse that these scumbags schemed up 15 miles up I-64 from me.

    January 18, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Republicans are playing games. The Constitution requires that all revenue related bills must originate in the House. The Senate is not supposed to originate spending bills. If they do, the House must vote on them and send it back to the Senate.

    For the first two years of the Obama administration, the Senate Republicans filibustered every budget bill that came through. Don't forget, that the Obama administration began with continuing resolutions enacted during the final days of the Bush administration.

    For the past two years, every budget bill that has come out of the Tea Party led House has been vain attempts at political skullduggery. Nearly every bill they've passed contained language repealing this, that, or some other thing. In most cases, Harry Reid told the House Republicans not to even bother with voting on a bill because he would not bring it up for a vote.

    January 18, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. some guy in New Hampshire

    If the GOP can finally address the fact that we don't have a budget, can get the Senate to pass one, and then will negotiate with the Senate to finalize something the president can sign, then the House GOP finally can point to something it's done right.

    January 18, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. DC Obseerver

    Obama and Reid should be impeached for violating their constitutional obligation to pass a budget. The dems are all talk and no action. If no budget is forthcoming, I hope the GOP lets the sequestered spending cuts go into effect ...and I hope they REJECT the continuing resolution that keeps the government debt machine going - then Obama will not have to debate the debt ceiling - but he will have to debate SPENDING because his funds will be cut off. Enough of the Democratic smoke and mirrors and "do nothing but talk a lot and blame the other guy" approach they take. President Teleprompter is going to have to work this Term

    January 18, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Larry in Houston

    LOL – this is a good article – It makes me laugh – One of our faithful / fearful Leaders down here, ( John Cornyn ) Now wants to "go ahead & raise the debt ceiling" lol – - Just over a week ago, 'ol "Corny" said the exact opposite, and said he was going to "help" other republicans "to fight tooth & nail" LOL

    WoW ! What a Reversal of opinion !

    January 18, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    " ... with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget or go without pay."

    How cool is this? We've gone from GOPer grade school talking points directly into GOPer kindergarten talking points. Many thanks to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Conservative Talk Radio, Glenn Beck, and (sadly) CNN.

    January 18, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. No Balance?

    What do Democrats have against a balanced budget? Haven't seen any Democrat on this site say that a balanced budget is a good idea!

    January 18, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Moose

    Again no budget, above the law for bamaman ????, he critized bush about borrowing and lookie now??? dont raise the debt roof , let the gov shut down they are useless any way, except to the leeches

    January 18, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. surf for sun

    JD, It's pretty simple math:
    (reduced income from Bush tax breaks) + (2)*(Cost of unfunded wars) = (huge deficits)
    Why didn't the Republicans implement parallel cost savings to match the lost revenue of the tax cuts?
    Why didn't the Republicans put the cost of the wars on the books?

    January 18, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Mike Texoma

    The House bill has no chance of passing the Senate, so it will never get to the President's desk. Let's go ahead and get this bit of gamesmanship behind us. When it comes down to brass tacks, the House is going to have to bite the bullet, and they know it. The American people want them to work within the current framework to create jobs and grow the economy. And if they fool around and insist on changing the framework and take us off the default cliff they will pay dearly.

    January 18, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    More games... You guys should be embarrassed to collect your paycheck! You probably would if you had a conscious.

    January 18, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Tea party supporter

    Don't do an extension!!!!!

    Shut the government down. Grandma and Grandpa can start looking for work at Walmart. Why the hell should my taxes be used to fund Social Security and Medicare.

    January 18, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. California Gary

    Why JD......you make it sound like two unfunded wars didn't actually happen or contribute to the current debt. You make fun of those who would bring that up in the conversation.......were you not paying attention at all when taxes were cut at the same time we went to war? Did you not notice that the Bush team kept the war expenses "off the books" as a separate item and not part of the national budget? Looking the other way and pretending those things didn't happen is not a responsible position.....the wars were very real, and the debt they caused is also very real.

    January 18, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. freedom

    No budget, no pay!! Especially for Pelosi !

    January 18, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Republicans are losing their little pieces of mind. They know that a short extension would only increase the uncertainty, which the constantly accuse Pres. Obama of fostering.

    Hey, CNN. How about an article about that GOP Speaker of the Kansas state House Legislature calling for everyone to join in praying for Obama's ..... for ah, Obama's premature demise.

    January 18, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Robert

    I'm not a fan of the repubs party at all but I do see this as something that may not be a bad idea. We do need to have a balanced budget. We can't continue to spend what we do have. I also believe that cutting medical care, social secruity, and etc is a bad idea. I'm for giving them a extra three more months to work out this budget IF THAT THEY DON'T WORK IT OUT THEY DON'T GET PAID!! Watch how the start working together when there paycheck is on the line! Let them hold their paychecks hostage!

    January 18, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. Old White Consevative Male

    Kool-Aid, get your Kool-Aid here. That makes an even dozen for you Rudy.

    January 18, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. otlset

    I say raise the debt limit a trillion or two more, then initiate some government studies and sponsor grants for research on how to lower the debt. Hey it means jobs! And don't forget to load all the bills up with billions in unrelated pork for the administration cronies!

    January 18, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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