House Republicans to vote next week on three-month extension of debt ceiling
January 18th, 2013
12:43 PM ET
5 years 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. Scott Siperko

    Out of that 16 Trillion Debt you have to credit $ 4 trillion to The Iraq and Afghanistan wars. If you don't believe me wilkipedia it."

    OK Robert; So if we remove that # the Obama administration has doubled the national debt in 4 years with no sign of slowing down, how it that OK with those of us who pay taxes?

    January 18, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Dan5404

    Another right-wing, Tea Party partisan fake vote. They know this bill is stupid and has no chance. They also know they would never pass an Obama budget that doesn't contain every one of their destructive policies, and that's not goin g to happen. The latest Wall Street Journal poll shows less than 30% approval for the Republican party and 23% for the Tea Party. They have gerrymandered districts to get radicals elected, tried to suppress votrs in many ways and still lost two presidential elections. When they realize their policies are not popular with American voters and decide to do something on a bi-partisan basis for real, we'll finally have a positive outlook for the future.Until then, they will block any progress toward real financial recovery.

    January 18, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Nathan

    So the Republicans don't have a principled position about not increasing the debt limit they just want to use it as a political toy. These guys sure are stupid. Now the President will have proof that their irresponsible stand is not about priciples but about politics. Mean and dumb is a dangerous combination.

    January 18, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Fed UP

    All returning members of Congress should have their entire pay docked retroactively for failing to address this issue in the last Congress.

    January 18, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. jinx88

    There seems to be some miss informed Repubs on this blog, the national debt was 10.6 trillion when Obama took office. What does Bush have to show for 10.6 trillion? Absolutely Nothing!!!! I hope next time Repubs have more accurate facts next time the decide to blog.

    January 18, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. 2012liberal

    Paul Ryan plan is not a budget it is a rape of the american ppl. So no reid will not put it on floor 4 vote. Budgets and spending HAVE 2 start n house then sent 2 senate. Dems do have budget Boehner wont put any bills on floor unless he can get the majority of the majority to pass it. NOTHING GETS DONE!

    January 18, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. RINO Bill

    They should call the House Republicans the quarterback congress because all they do is hand-off tough issues to someone else. Boehner, Cantor and Ryan are like the three stooges of government. Cantor makes a good "Moe," while Ryan is "Larry" and Boehner is "Shemp," he does not even rate "Curly."

    January 18, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    At least the House is doing it's job. Trying to get the Democrat controlled Senate to take up the Budget is like trying to get a flight to the moon. Harry Reid doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Prediction. There will be no budget passed until Republicians take back the Senate. Meanwhile the Debt will continue to rise. Isn't it wonderful??

    January 18, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Interested Party

    Interesting to read all the venom about wanting a budget passed. The GOP is going to try and do what they are elected to do. The Dems are going to try and do what they are going to do. No question, Bush left a big mess. No question, it is 4 years later, it is now BO who is responsible. I have read about ten times that "they just need to sit down and compromise on spending cuts" as a solution. Really? When has that EVER occurred? The Dems wont pass a budget. So, irrespective of all the name calling on this site, we spend too much. Taxing the rich at 100% wont fix it. The only thing Dems do is ask for more. More. More. More. How much more? The answer is just always more. Well, at some point we have "spent today what future generations will pay tomorrow" over and over. I don't know why we think we all get to party on the credit card and leave the future generations with the bar tab. NO matter who you are or what side of the aisle, it has to stop. We are totally screwing our kids and grand kids.

    January 18, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    CNN, why are you reporting this story as news when clearly YOU should know that what they're proposing is unconstitutional. This story has no relevance or credence, but I guess it's a slow news day so you guys ran with it.

    January 18, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. kayla

    do congress ever work?

    January 18, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. Peace

    Childish. A grown up telling another grown up do this or not I will punish you!!!! What kind of talk is that one? OK they will not meet your demand. Go and punish them and what comes next???? Can you please learn how to talk to each other in an acceptable way?

    January 18, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "They have gerrymandered districts to get radicals elected"

    In fact, they just circulated a memo this week literally bragging about how well their gerrymandering helped them overcome the popular vote...the will of the people...regarding who should control the House. You won't find CNN damaging their carefully constructed false equivalncy narrative by reporting on it tho.

    January 18, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Ken in MD

    While I agree that a budget should be passed, since when does the House get to pass a bill that punishes the Senate for not doing something?

    January 18, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. mm

    Pay for the debt you've racked up Republicans in Congress and stop pretending like you don't know where it came from!

    January 18, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. DB

    I'm curious if withholding pay from Congress is even Constitutional...although it wouldn't matter unless one of them sued, and I'm sure NOBODY wants to be known as the guy who did that.

    January 18, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Joe

    So the House wants a year long budget and in exchange they will raise the debt limit for three months? It would be fiscally responsible to operate under a budget. It would also be fiscally responsible if that budget had plans for the debt ceiling for its entire duration.

    Everyone involved is an idiot.

    January 18, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Sasha

    And Gramm-Rudman led directly to the repeal of the Glass Stegal Act, which in turn led to the financial crisis of 2007. This is not a good precedent to follow ...

    January 18, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. critical thinking

    Let me see if I got this right. The Republican House is putting forth a bill, aka law, that will allow for more deficit spending as long as Democrats in the Senate agree to do a budget, which they are required to do each year by law, but they choose not to do because they don't want to be constrained to a fixed amount of spending.

    Hmmm, I can't wait to hear Dems explain to intelligent americans the reason they don't want to do that.

    January 18, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Lola

    House Republicans are absolutely useless, and are costing this country who knows how much in lost recovery dollars - all because they want to obstruct and grandstand for their own political gain.

    The people's patience with you is all but gone, Republicans.

    January 18, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Mike

    jinx88: "There seems to be some miss informed Repubs on this blog, the national debt was 10.6 trillion when Obama took office. What does Bush have to show for 10.6 trillion?" Talk about misinformed (btw, you misspelled it). The national debt on Jan 19, 2001, the day before Bush took office was $5.7T. So Bush was responsible for $4.9T of the $10.6T when Obama took over. It's now $15.2T, so Obama's share is $4.6T...Let's see, Bush, in 8 years, $4.9T. Obama, in 4 years, $4.6T. There's your accurate facts.

    January 18, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Nick-o

    You cut taxes, start two long wars and do not fund them, create a recession through poor banking oversight then cry at the democrats for "ballooning" our debt. Instead of setting the tax scale back to the Clinton era, you preach that it's better to steal from the coffers of veterans and retirees. Oh call them the 47%. Screw Boehner

    January 18, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Mike G

    Absurdist grandstanding at its finest. Are the Leaders of the GOP putting on a show for thier "low-information" voters or are they actually ignorant of the text of the US constitution

    Cantor's Statement:
    "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."

    the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
    "Amendment 27 – Limiting Changes to Congressional Pay
    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

    Shame on Cantor for proposing something so blatantly unconstituional, and shame on CNN's sloppy reporters for not pointing this out

    January 18, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Interested Party


    Pay for the debt you've racked up Republicans in Congress and stop pretending like you don't know where it came from!

    How do you want them to pay the debt MM? Raise taxes? Check, we did that. Now what? Raise taxes even more – ok – even if we raise it to 100% on the "rich" we wont even be close. So what do you want the republicans to do?

    The only thing left is to cut spending. The Dems wont ever cut anything. So, here we sit, spending WAY MORE than we make, making sure our kids and grandkids WILL have to make massive cuts to everything, because we can't even raise the age of SS benefits by one year. It is epic fail. If the democrats wanted to cut spending, they would get nothing but help from the Repubs. I don't know why it is possible for the dems to think the repubs should do anything different. "It is so disruptive and will destroy the countries rating" which is true. Spending like we are will also cause that as well as FAR MORE SIGNIFICANT consequences. If the dems can't see it, they Repubs have no choice but to shut down the government. We do it now AND FIX IT or we screw our kids and grandkids and make them do it. I don't vote for screwing my kids and grand kids anymore than we have already done...

    January 18, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    @jinx88. Facts schmacts, they could care less about facts. Don't forget what they said during the election. "The republican party will not be dictated by facts." Or some crap like that that the media gave them a free pass for.

    January 18, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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