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. NameFranklin myers

    I agree with this, congress has failed the American people so why should they get paid? Fire them all and elect all women to run this countries budget. We be much better off for sure.......

    January 18, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Are these the same Republicans who threw their whole hearted support behind the Ryan Plans? Didn't Ryan himself say that his various plans would not balance the annual budget for between 30-40 years? Doesn't that mean that Republicans who supported his plans would also have to support constantly raising the debt ceiling over the course of those same 30-40 years?

    January 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Vijay

    It is absurd to pass it for few months, and once again we will end up in the same situation, instead a grand bargain would for at least few years is the best way to resolve this issue. We need to cut spending by eliminating the retreat, flight expenses, aid to missionaries and so on. We need certain spending which will stimulate the economy and creating jobs. Reduce the size of defense which has eaten so much for the past 12 years. Remove some provisions in medicare, SSN and medicaid which cost huge to government. Stop Pork barrel spending for at least 10 years. Increase investments in education and energy. Create a rule that everyone should pay the taxes, if failure to do so they will be punished severely. If we do this. our economy will be again and reducing the debt.

    January 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    civil war

    "i hope. wish and pray people start killing all republicans soon so this country can be a beter place."
    Hand out any yellow stars or burn any good books lately?

    January 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. ron

    I think the Senate should vote for it, too! Then let it slide, and do nothing. The Congress does no work, it is WAY past time that they get no pay. And in the mid terms, I certainly intend to vote their gravy train ends permanently. We know who has held up appointments to critical offices. We know who ruined America's credit rating. We know who held all Americans hostage, at the threat of higher taxes, for the sake of the excessively rich. Let's remember, and allow them to stop getting paid, then fire them as well.

    January 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Jenna NYC

    The problem with the GOP is they are trying to wake up the pubic in that President Obama has not produced one single budget since he took office. Yes, Bush got us deep in the red, and Obama said he'd fix it, but instead is spending like a drunken sailor and has gotten us in so much deeper...our economy will not recover the lost jobs until the budget gets under control.

    January 18, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Marcia

    I love to watch Republicans destroy the Republican party instead of doing their job-even Republicans won't vote for this-they did not vote for the Boehner plan

    January 18, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Robert


    It has not doubled. The National Debt was 10 trillion in 2008 when he took office. It took him 2.5 years to finish the Iraq war and we are currenty as you know still in Afghanistan. I'm going to estimate about another 1.5 to 2 trillion in war expenses there that he had given to him from Bush. In order for it to had doubled we would have to have about a 20 trillion debt. I see about 4 trillion created under his watch. Alot of that money spent was spent in trying to get us out of the recession. Some of it worked and some of it didn't. Not bad for a country that has a broken congress that won't produce a budget.

    January 18, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Mike

    The Libs cannot even pass the huricane Sandy bill without attaching 30 billion in pork to it. How are they ever going to allow a budget.

    January 18, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    Isn't this a form of extortion??? Or am I wrong???

    January 18, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Dave

    For the best summary of where our debt is coming from, find the article "Downturn and Legacy of Bush Policies Drive Large Current Deficits" at, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Republicans are the very last people in this country who should be trusted to fix the deficits and our national debt.

    January 18, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. michael

    those who blame repubs for our current debt problem are idiots. The president is the one who is wasting money on programs we dont need. WE proivde billions of taxpayer dollars to the useless EPA that only hurts businesses. The 800 billion dollar stimulus did very little to stimulate our economy. For those who say the president is doing the right thing by borrowing more money does not understand the financial implications of reckless spending. Millions of americans contniue to spend more money then they have and we all know where that leads too.. foreclosure, bankruptcy and bye bye to your 529 plan if you have one. Thus, if we americans spend more then what we have, what do we do?? we figure out a way to manage our budget, but clealrly that doesnt apply to the prez!

    January 18, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Me

    The Real issue is the Republicans want the Democrats to propose cuts to SS. Because they do not have the guts to do it themselves as it would alienate one of their larger voting blocks, The elderly. So they just stand there and point at the democrats and yell make the cuts! make the cuts! we haven't got the balls to propose themselves ourselves.

    January 18, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. what's up

    Tax Paying Americans see just how divisive and worthless Obama and his Debtocrats really are!

    Obama is a malignant cancer, eating away at the U.S. economy and America's freedoms.

    January 18, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. what's up

    Obama is a malignant cancer, eating away at the U.S. economy and America's freedoms.

    January 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Boomer in Mo

    Good grief. We are being led by fools, all of them, from Capital Hill to the White House.It is Congress who spends the money, despite what a president may ask for. Congress has gotten proposed budgets from Pres. Obama. They may have been cr**, but they got them. Leaders in the House and Senate ought to be able to come up with a budget agreement most can live with and PASS It. If they can't do anything else, pass the last budget they had with 10 percent shaved off every line item. Lots of school boards, cities and counties have done that kind of dirty budget cutting in the last four years, and certainly private citizens have had to cut 10, 15, 25 or more percent from their family budget just as crudely because of the recession.

    January 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. DustyOnes

    "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."

    Finally, a good solution!

    January 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Interested Party

    This whole debt ceiling debacle is easily fixed. Pass a budget that doesn't require us to keep borrowing money. I know, I know, that is tea party to a tea.

    Nobody has had to decide what we are spending because we just spend it and put our head in the sand about the future. It has to stop. Shut it all down right now before it is way past the point of no return...

    January 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Solex

    Republicans know this is their ONLY leverage until the mid terms. What is most telling is that the republicans in congres are trying to assign blame for the debt to everyone but themselves – and it is congress, not Obama, that does the spending.

    So congress spent the money, and now decides that they don't want to pay for debt they caused? If we tried to do that we would be guilty of fraud.

    Last Summer, Reid went to he minority leader in the Senate and asked him about a compromise where he would susport spending cuts if the GOP would support legislation that would automate the adjustment of the debt ceiling. The minority leader laughed out load and turned and walked away.

    So the GOP will hold a gun to our economy's headin order to get tax cuts for rich people passed, de-regulation of wall street and banks, and then blame everyone else for being "tax and spend" liberals.

    Let's vote the GOP OUT in 2014 and keep dems in power until at least 2020. If they have not fixed or greatly reduced the deficit and debt by that time, THEN the GOP might have a chance to regain power.

    January 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Gary Waayers

    What they need to do is pass the debt ceiling for two years with a stipulation that Congress and their staff doesn't get paid if they don't have a budget signed by the President by June 1, 2013. Trying to work out a real budget in 3 months is crazy.

    January 18, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    And of course, as I was just reminded by a friend, during the 2010 lame duck period, when Dems were just 2 votes shy of a filibuster proof majority and the GOP/Teatrolls in the Senate successfully prevented the Senate from passing a budget, McCain and Kirk performed this snide, insulting and little comedy act full of mischaracterizations to celebrate their "victory":

    Kirk: "I'm new around here. Does that mean the budget is dead?"
    McCain: "Yes it does"
    Kirk: "Does that mean we didn't vote for billions of dollars of pork and thousands of earmarks?"
    McCain: "Yes it does, my friend."

    They hope to block any budget in the Senate until it matches the GOP/Teatroll agenda, all while pretending to do the "hero's" work of preventing "pork" etc. They'll characterize anything and everythign as "pork" just to give themselves cover for the obstruction. Their "reasoning" is that they can then blame the Dems in the Senate for the "pork" (you know, like education funding) that prevented the budget nfrom ot getting passed, and then piggy-back the debt ceiling not getting raised on that, hoping they can shift the blame to the Dems for a default or downgrade. It has as much chance of working as an elderly prostate.

    January 18, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. gus

    we need term limits, these long term politicians aquire too many debts to contributors and other members to ever be effective. If they knew they couldnt make this a carrier maybe they would do the right thing?

    January 18, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. brian in dc

    All I want for Christmas is a dead, or 50, democrats.

    January 18, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Alexis S. J.

    All these know-nothings in this thread blaming Pres. Obama for spending. Go back to high school civics class and re-learn that it's the House of Representatives that controls the government's purse strings via legislation. And guess which party has the House majority now? Nope, not the Presidents' Democrats. It's so easy to be stupid in America and then thrust it on everyone else via the First Amendment.

    January 18, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    ""i hope. wish and pray people start killing all republicans soon so this country can be a beter place.""

    Faker trying to generate "evidence" of Dem/liberal hate and violence is faking.

    Moderators won't let us say naughty words, but they'll let a post like that one, faker or not, fly on the board? Are you asleep at your keyboards or just stupid?

    January 18, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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