Republicans up ante, say they want debt ceiling conditions
January 31st, 2014
01:10 PM ET
10 months ago

Republicans up ante, say they want debt ceiling conditions

(CNN) – House Republicans agreed Friday that they would demand conditions for raising the nation's debt ceiling, according to several sources who attended a closed-door discussion at the annual GOP strategy retreat in Cambridge, Maryland.

Extending U.S. borrowing in the early part of this year is the next potential confrontation on fiscal policy with Democrats and President Barack Obama, who has said he would not negotiate over the issue.

Members at the meeting asserted that a so-called "clean" debt bill could not get the support of the Republican conference and they want to press Senate Democrats and the White House to accept some sort of condition.

At the same time, there was a recognition that whatever they pushed had to be narrow and not provoke a major fight that might rattle financial markets, especially with congressional midterms on the horizon.

The debt ceiling represents a limit on how much the government can borrow to pay its bills.

The government effectively hits the debt ceiling on February 7, but the Treasury has some payment flexibility through accounting maneuvers for an additional month or so.

After that, it would rely solely on whatever cash on hand it has plus incoming tax revenue to meet obligations. But that would be insufficient to make all payments, raising the risk of default.

Republicans and Democrats have waged pitched political battles over spending and debt over the past two years. But with the last fight in October resulting in an unpopular government shutdown and Congress gearing up for midterms, lawmakers came together on a compromise budget.

That left the debt ceiling still to be resolved amid election-year partisanship.

Several ideas for conditions were put on the table at the Republican meeting, including one that would eliminate a provision in the Affordable Care act that would provide federal help to insurance companies.

Republicans have made the sweeping health care law championed by Obama a centerpiece campaign issue for November.

They expect to make a decision on GOP strategy on the debt-ceiling when members return to Washington next week.

A political dilemma for Republican leaders favoring a debt-celing increase is the possibility that even a bill with modest conditions might not clear the GOP-led House.

Why? Because those leaders believe there are many conservatives who would vote against it regardless. This means any additions to a debt measure would have to appeal to at least some Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Thursday that a debt default would be unacceptable.

"We don't want to do that," he said.


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Republicans
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Then they should have put them in the budget they enacted, which mandates the spending levels that make raising the debt ceiling necessary. Oh wait...that's right....they couldn't get their way then either because they only control the House. Well, in light of the MSM whitewashing the facts about how this issue really functions, I suppose it makes perfect sense for the GOP/Teatrolls to threaten destruction of the global economy as a means of trying to undo the 2012 election results and make an end run around them. After all, the MSM is going to treat their rhetoric as perfectly legitimate even though it's patently false and ridiculous for them to try to blame Obama for the debt ceiling needing to be raised. "Of course it's his fault...he signed the legislation WE enacted." Troglodyte nihilists.

    January 31, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "a so-called "clean" debt bill "

    Would pass if put to a vote on the floor of the House right now. Period.

    January 31, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Mike

    Funny. The Republican House passed a spending bill, so now we know what are spending limits are though 2015 and now they want conditions on how to pay for it.. You have to pay your bills!!

    January 31, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. current state of the union

    Just saying: I knew they would do this, and I'll tell you why, because they adamantly said they would not. They said that knowing they would, but think people are so stupid they will blame the Democrats because the gop said they wouldn't do it, so it must be the dems.
    Do you guys not hear yourselves, or just don't care? You just don't learn, you've been blaming it on a messaging problem, sigh, you can't possibly be so dumb . I wonder just how stupid they think most are, I am shocked at how uninformed some are, but their nit being realistic, IMHO.

    January 31, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Lisa P.

    They just don't learn, do they? Replace 'em all with Congresscritters who are able to do their job: look, listen, reflect, discuss, negotiate, compromise, legislate, persuade, cajole, vote and move on! This country has had enough of Republican obstinance and stagnation.

    January 31, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. current state of the union

    I understand your trying to use what Obama said and paint him as not willing to negotiate, we know he is, just not when the check comes, after we already ate. If you don't want to pay for steak, order a hotdog. This hurt you last time, and will be worse this time. Do your damage while you can? Expect a landslide thus fall

    January 31, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    I await with baited breath the demands.....not like they'll be different from any of their previous ones..........

    January 31, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. current state of the union

    I see their angle, they will say, Obama told us he'd go around us, and here he is. What you need to understand is more and more understand how this works, you will pay for it, but go ahead, make it easy.

    January 31, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Bill

    Grat strategy GOP, default on the debt. That should help your mid-term prospects. I guess they did not learn anything last fall during the shutdown. A hopeless gaggle of clowns.

    January 31, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Here we go again with another hostage taking. How many times does the President have to reiterate to these fiscal terrorists that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling? Are they hard of hearing or something?

    January 31, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. pkMyt1

    So the Grand Obstructionist Part just negotiated a budget deal and now want more concessions to keep the US from defaulting on bills Congress mandated from the past. Yup, business as usual.

    January 31, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    "Republicans up ante, say they want debt ceiling conditions"

    "... ... a so-called "clean" debt bill could not get the support of the Republican conference and they want to press Senate Democrats and the White House to accept some sort of condition."
    ------------------------–
    Republicans didn't say that. It was the Tea Party Caucus that had insisted upon making it into a demand. The Republicans simply lack the courage, or the know how, to say "NO" to the Tea Party.

    I wonder what sort of "condition" they will ask for, and how long will it take to evolve into "conditions."

    This move by the Republicans is pretty arrogant. Don't they realize that the Democrats could be making demands of their own? No. Democrats are not going to emit their own condition because they realize that the debt ceiling should not be politicized. They could be demanding an extension to unemployment, and I'm sure there are members howling for it, but they're not.

    January 31, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. somebody

    Raising debt ceiling only answers the question of whether or not we are going to pay for spending already authorized by Congress. It does NOT authorize new spending.

    The shenanigans surrounding the partial Government shutdown last fall may be popular with the GOP/Tea Party base but is rather obscene to the rest of us. Budget negotiations happened just a month or two ago which was the proper venue for negotiating revenue and spending priorities.

    Brinksmanship around the debt ceiling hurt the GOP politically last time and will be worse this time. Making a foolish mistake is one thing. Repeating a foolish mistake a short time later just cements the view that the GOP is incapable of recognizing it's mistakes and fixing them. This is a bad thing to do in an election year.

    January 31, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @Sniffit: "a so-called "clean" debt bill " Would pass if put to a vote on the floor of the House right now. Period.

    Yep! And this bears repeating:

    Leading up to the government shutdown last year, RWNJ shock-jock Mark Levin kept harping on about how Congress is "the people's house" and that we needed to heed the "will of the people."

    What he and all the other RWNJs never mentioned was how the shutdown was caused by 32 repub members of Congress – 32 out of a total of 435 U.S. Representatives. Nowhere except in the delusional right-wing universe is this a
    majority, nowhere except in their persecution-complex petty little minds is this representative of the "will of the people."

    The shutdown was also a result of the GOP making a small rule change to their procedures that not only guaranteed there would be a government shutdown, but made it impossible for anyone except the House Majority Leader (Eric Cantor) able to call for a vote on the continuing resolution that would end the shutdown.

    Here's the added language:
    "Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.”

    Previously, clause 4 of rule XXII could be brought up by any member of the House of Representatives to push a bill forward despite disagreements.

    So these supposed "defenders of freedom" changed the rules so no one but Cantor could call for the vote on the continuing resolution that would have stopped the government shutdown.

    And – apparently – this is the kind of thing the GOP plans to do for 2014. (See the CNN article above.)

    The choice is ours, folks, and it's pretty clear in my mind: If you want our federal government to function again, vote out the majority party: vote OUT the repub/tea bags.

    January 31, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    Again bears repeating:

    Attention all voters: Google H.R. 368 to learn how the GOP guaranteed the government shutdown last year would happen – a shutdown that closed National Parks World War II monuments and affected the benefit pay of fallen
    soldiers.

    Source = International Business Times. The GOP made a small rule change to their procedures that not only guaranteed there would be a government shutdown, but made it impossible for anyone except the House Majority Leader (Eric Cantor) able to call for a vote on the continuing resolution that would end the shutdown. Here's the added language:

    "Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.”

    Previously, clause 4 of rule XXII could be brought up by any member of the House of Representatives to push a bill forward despite disagreements.

    So these supposed "defenders of freedom" changed the rules so no one but Cantor could call for the vote on the continuing resolution that would have stopped the government shutdown.

    These same GOP/tea bags constantly wail about how President Obama is a "dictator," when all the while they do everything in their power to harm our country.

    Solution? Come November 4, 2014 vote all the GOP/tea bags OUT!

    January 31, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. len

    Do not complain, not voting has consequences! Vote in 2014!!!! Donot repeat 2010! Vote!

    January 31, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    somebody

    Raising debt ceiling only answers the question of whether or not we are going to pay for spending already authorized by Congress. It does NOT authorize new spending.
    --------
    Well maybe if we passed a revenue-neutral (e.g. "balanced") budget, there would be no need to ever raise the debt limit again.

    January 31, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    Repubs remind me of three-year-olds. When they don't get their way, they throw a tantrum and try to make life so miserable for you that you give in to their irrational, childish demands.

    Easy to deal with, though. Tell them to their tactics will not work and continue doing what you were doing. Repeat as needed. Kids usually grow out of it; repub/tea bags get voted out on November 4, 2014.

    January 31, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. yolanda

    @Fair, but to pass a revenue-neutral budget would require fiscal responsibility. And certainly you know that ll of this is the Republicans' fault.......maybe Obama can get this done by Executive order.

    January 31, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. ChrisM

    Thats right republicans, double down on your stupidity. That'll work

    January 31, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @Rudy NYC: "Republicans didn't say that. It was the Tea Party Caucus that had insisted upon making it into a demand. The Republicans simply lack the courage, or the know how, to say "NO" to the Tea Party."

    Repubs lack courage and cajones. The tea bag "freedom-lovers" (and their sponsors, like the Koch brothers) have devised a system wherein they control candidates, who risk being primaried if they deviate from the strict tea bag, inflexible, unthinking, irrational line.

    And that's exactly what the tea bags want to do to the whole country. So much for freedom!

    January 31, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @Fair is Fair: "Well maybe if we passed a revenue-neutral (e.g. "balanced") budget, there would be no need to ever raise the debt limit again."

    While you're at it, pass a law prohibiting any future natural disasters and other events government is tasked with responding to. You know, so that the budget never needs to be modified.

    Dolt!

    January 31, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Harold Read

    How are we going to get the US Debt over $17 Trillion if we do not raise the debt ceiling.
    China's future and well-being depend on it!

    January 31, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    ThinkAgain – If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @Fair is Fair: "Well maybe if we passed a revenue-neutral (e.g. "balanced") budget, there would be no need to ever raise the debt limit again."

    While you're at it, pass a law prohibiting any future natural disasters and other events government is tasked with responding to. You know, so that the budget never needs to be modified.

    Dolt!
    -------–
    No... all you do is legislate exceptions for the emergencies you enumerate.

    P.S. When one uses a derogatory term such as "dolt" in reply to a completely valid statement made by someone you have no personal knowledge of, the user of said term has exposed themself as nothing more than an imbecile unable to debate. Well done.

    January 31, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. tom l

    Koch and fox. Koch and fox. Koch and fox. Koch and fox and rush Limbaugh. Koch and fox and rush Limbaugh.

    Goodness gracious. I love how much liberals define who republicans are as if they know them and what makes them tick. It's so funny that they are so smart that they can think for themselves yet conservatives are just a bunch of idiots who only do what Koch, fox and Limbaugh says. So immature. After reading comments from Fair or Donna or Just or Yolanda, why can't you guys just give it a rest and acknowledge that these are some intelligent people who think for themselves and just have a difference of opinion. Why do you on the left think you're so much smarter and better so that you always have to make these ridiculous charges of Koch, fox and Limbaugh?

    January 31, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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