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. Gurgyl

    Kick all the GOP thugs out in 2014.

    January 18, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The president is the one who is wasting money on programs we dont need. "

    Hey, Cletus, the POTUS does not decide what and how to spend the country's money, Congress does. Now, run along and enjoy your recess before nap time.

    January 18, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Susan StoHelit

    Well!!!! I'm shocked!

    The GOP has the slightest trace of common sense remaining!

    They finally realized that shutting down our gov't, or deciding not to pay the debt or the bills that they'd already voted to fund was not an option! Finally!!!!!

    They've a long way to go, but at last, something I'm happy with. And I can certainly get behind a requirement for a budget to be passed by the Senate – even though it likely will die when sent to the House, at least each sides spending priorities can be put on record.

    January 18, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Ind.

    Eventually the system will collapse and the blame will not belong to one party.

    January 18, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Wilson

    Its funny, politifacts "big lie," used against Romney during the election, turns out its true. Jeeps are going to be made in China. Politifacts' credibility just went further down the drain.

    January 18, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. steve

    I am 100% sure no budget will come out of this and 100% sure they will get paid!

    January 18, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Lilli

    NO BUDGET – NO PAY....great idea!!! Cantor seems to be coming to his senses! Where's Boehner????

    January 18, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Mike

    From small minds, come small deals.

    January 18, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Adam

    "Unfortunately the House has passed one the last two times, but the Senate has not, and what has that created? A $16 trillion debt. "

    Yes, we managed to add up a 16 Trillion Dollar Debt in only 2 years. Derp derp.

    January 18, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. DB

    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.

    You didn't get it right.

    January 18, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Pat

    Rudy NYC that is a completely ridiculous statement if I ever heard one. Ryan's plan may take 30-40 years paying down our total debt, but it would close our yearly budget gap rather quickly. I think that both Democrats and Republicans should support only raising the debt limit in 3 month increments. It allows voters and media to increase pressure on lawmakers to pass sensible budgets and work to narrow our budget gap. I expect that this is a bipartisan agreement, but I have been wrong before.

    January 18, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. lcleejr

    voters are learning quickly that republican politicians keep dragging our country down. money from the wealthy won't mean anything when the majority of voters don't trust them. they will not get elected or re-elected. many of their once proud republican supporters have had enough of their bs.

    January 18, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. ProudDem

    In times past, public figures were held accountable for what they said. The media truly was a watchdog and made sure that the public was well informed. Yes, there were those whose politics you could discern by their commentary but that didn't alter the facts they presented. I don't recall the news channels having to issue many retractions in the old days of real reporting. I long for the old days when any politicians who put forth ridiculous policy that could damage our economy would be called to account. Where are you credible news outlets? Leave the entertainment to the entertainment channels and do your jobs which is the keep the public informed!

    January 18, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Wilson

    ""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."""
    More evidence that it is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

    January 18, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. USwatcher

    Oh yeah...I get it...Repubs makin' demands again...Repubs demand that Dems make the cuts that the Repubs demand...sure.

    January 18, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. DW

    Little types of fixes? Like removing one Republican at a time....

    January 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Joe

    The United States Government looks like a circus to the rest of the world.

    January 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Thaddeus Kozubal

    There is no quick answer to the problem. The GOP is using extortion to get their way, but they refuse to eliminate pork barreling every bill that's past. What good is a budget if they increase every line item that comes up for a vote? And, we can't wait two years for the next election. By then, they will have passed state laws that make it illiegal for anyone to vote who doesn't vote GOP. Hand out AR-15s to everyone in the balcony and hope they are good aims. How do they manage to move the center aisle in the House when the GOP side keeps shrinking?

    January 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. DB

    The House GOP caucus is completely obsessed with this "zero sum game" where they believe they can't claim a victory unless the Democrats lose something. Everything they do is based on their desire to defeat – or at least embarrass – Obama. It makes it impossible for our government to function properly, and what's so baffling is that it's proven to be a self-destructive policy: again and again, they've staked out positions that have made them increasingly unpopular and lead to defeat at the polls because they just can't bring themselves to agree with the Democrats on ANYTHING, even when they know it's right. Does this party have a deathwish, or are they just completely deranged?

    January 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. bearced


    let me see, war in Afghanistan, medicare part D , interest on said wars and medicare becuase of 2 tax cuts that caused us to borrow the money for the aforementioned expenditures.

    January 18, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Mike from Seattle

    I don't care for the short term approval on the debt ceiling, but the pay for performance on Congress is a great idea.

    January 18, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. nomad2003

    do your job or not get paid... sound right

    January 18, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. Patrick in Wisconsin

    It's interesting how most the liberals here are giving well grounded arguments and facts while most of the conservatives here resort to name calling and comparing our President to a "malignant cancer." I hope all the Republicans here know, which I highly doubt, that the stereotypes about them that say they are a bunch of stupid hicks are coming straight from their blabbering lunacy here.

    January 18, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Get over it

    I don't know how we ever "got by" with only $450B in deficit spending per year!

    January 18, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Bob

    Why is Eric Cantor allowed to do anything with the debt ceiling? Heck, why isn't he in jail. We learned last summer that Eric Cantor made several investments that only make money if the U.S. defaults on its loans. And those are only the publicly-disclosed investments. Who knows how much (and he's likely not the only GOP Congressman with these) offshore investments he made that are betting the U.S. will default. This is the ultimate example of insider trading (and outright treason) why the main guy preventing any sort of meaningful debt ceiling compromise or action is the the who stands to gain the most if it all fails. That'd be as dumb as letting the oil companies right the safety regulations for oil rigs- oh wait, Bush and Cheney already did and that's how we got the BP oil spill (because 100 billion in lost Gulf revenue was so worth the two million they saved on an adequate blow-out preventer).

    January 18, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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