House GOP leaders discard two key demands for raising debt ceiling
February 5th, 2014
01:54 PM ET
2 months ago

House GOP leaders discard two key demands for raising debt ceiling

Washington (CNN) – House Republican leaders, who signaled they would push for conditions in return for raising the debt limit, have discarded two leading ideas.

One would require approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the second would repeal an Obamacare provision that helps insurance companies, according to two senior House GOP leadership aides.

House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders have been telling their rank and file members they would attach GOP priorities to a debt bill if it would garner 218 GOP votes – enough to pass in the House without Democratic votes.

But after canvassing House Republicans, neither the pipeline nor the Obamacare proposals had sufficient support.

Many Republicans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling, which would allow the government to borrow more money to pay its bills, regardless of what conditions are included.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats insist they want a clean measure and won't negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.

It’s unclear now what House GOP leaders will do.

There is a divide within GOP ranks about whether it's even worth having a big fight over an issue that could risk economic and political fallout in a midterm election year.

At a forum for House Republicans on Wednesday, Rep Raul Labrador of Idaho recommended that Boehner go ahead and put a “clean” bill on the House floor.

After congressional Republicans took a lot of the blame for last October’s government shutdown, Labrador concedes the GOP can't win a fight on the debt issue.
He said he would still vote against the bill and that "Democrats can own it"

But many conservatives still want to demand some type of spending or budget conditions in exchange for their votes.

"I don’t advocate some sort of scorched-earth process, but I do advocate that let's come up with some commonsense structural reforms," Texas Republican Joe Barton said, adding "a clean debt ceiling, I think, is capitulation."

House GOP leaders are unlikely to come up with a strategy this week. There is another meeting to discuss the issue next week.

Boehner has made it clear that he will not allow a default on the nation’s debt.

With no consensus on a strategy and a deadline approaching, it’s more likely the speaker will simply allow a vote on a “clean” debt bill.

The government effectively hits the debt ceiling on Friday, 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.

More Americans would blame Republicans in Congress than President Barack Obama if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new national poll.

The release of the CNN/ORC International survey on Monday came as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew issued yet another public warning to Congress to act quickly to extend the nation's borrowing authority.

Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they would blame the GOP in Congress if the debt ceiling isn't raised, with 29% saying they'd hold the President more responsible.


Filed under: House Republicans • Jack Lew • John Boehner • national debt • Obamacare
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Boomer in Mo

    Do like I have done the last eight years. Pay down debt, but pay your debts, and cut spending to the bone. Easy. Well, not really, but it works.

    February 5, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "The misinformation is strong with this one."

    "Yes, lies, deception, panic, hysteria are their ways."
    ---------------------------
    Today I'm being reminded of the old fashioned carnival barkers, trying to attract patrons into their tent. In particular, they remind me of the traveling revivalists, exploring the Old West in the 1800s.

    February 5, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rudy NYC

    smith

    Both parties are a bunch of sellouts who have failed this country. Its not Obama and the dems vs the gop. It`s George Soros vs Koch Bros.
    --------–
    You seem to have an awful lot to complain about. Besides, "you're on your own," you offer no solutions to any of the actual problems that the people in this country face.
    ***************
    Thats the legacy of Ayn Rand again: they think that having no sense of community or obligation is ennobling, when its actually all about embracing selfishness and egocentric behavior as the only worthy virtues. It certainly is never about actually dealing with problems.

    February 5, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -Gunderson

    Well, Lessee,
    Obummy Care is the Law of the Land. given to us by Who? Raising the Debt Ceiling is for things already racked up. Fiscal Responsibility is for Conservatives. Spending excess money is for Liberal's. Other people's money, that is. Some think there is tons of money ready and available, for the taking. Well according to the Liberal's who want to run the country, there is, all they have to do is go steal it, legally. People that have money move it offshore to keep the Liberals from stealing it. So a need to raise the Debt Ceiling, because the peasants elected a bunch of crooks, who think it is allright to help themselves to other people's money. Just today, the Congressional Budget Office posted that Obama Care will cost about another 2.5 Million jobs. The Peasants don't care. They Elected a bunch of Crooks that will steal for them. Any more questions?
    ****************
    Yes, I have one: if I think like you, will I end up babbling like an idiot as well?

    February 5, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rudy NYC

    "The misinformation is strong with this one."

    "Yes, lies, deception, panic, hysteria are their ways."
    ---------
    Today I'm being reminded of the old fashioned carnival barkers, trying to attract patrons into their tent. In particular, they remind me of the traveling revivalists, exploring the Old West in the 1800s.
    ******************
    I"ll cut right to the chase: they are snake oil salesman, pushing all sorts of wierd concoctions in the hopes of a quick buck at the expense of hard-working people and credibility that even they know they don't deserve. PT Barnum was right, there is a sucker born every minute, and they send their donations to Freedomworks.

    February 5, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    The Real Tom Paine
    -Gunderson

    Well, Lessee,
    Obummy Care is the Law of the Land. given to us by Who? (snip ranting) They Elected a bunch of Crooks that will steal for them. Any more questions?
    ****************
    Yes, I have one: if I think like you, will I end up babbling like an idiot as well?
    -------
    Maybe dropping subjects like science in favor of Creationism is not so great after all? I shudder to think people believe half of that nonsense. I am donating to some liberal cause today!

    February 5, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Sonnie 2

    We already know that aca is a train wreck burning in a heap. We should know better than to try to bail it out with more government funds.

    February 5, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. iconoclast1

    What is it with this idea that Republicans should "get something" for raising the debt ceiling to pay for spending that Congress has already authorized? Should Democrats also throw in some demands? It's unbelievable. If we didn't raise the debt ceiling, we would not be honoring commitments that Congress and the President have already made. The recovery has already been harmed by rapid deficit reduction. Not paying our bills would simply throw the country, and possibly the world, into a deep recession or worse. It's just nuts.

    February 5, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. sonnie3

    iconoclast1
    It has more to do with removing something that getting something. And with the debt our current administration as run up it certainly is not nuts to try and accomplish some sound financial footing.

    February 5, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. sonnie3

    The conservatives are not getting something as you say, but rather getting rid of some expenses to try and lower our bloated debt we have put on in the last 5 years. And to do so is not NUTS.

    February 5, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    The national debt was $10 Trillion when Obama came into office. When he leaves, it will be hovering around $20 Trillion. Which means under the Obama administration, as much debt was added as all previous administrations COMBINED. Heckuva job, Barry.

    February 5, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    @Gunderson: "Just today, the Congressional Budget Office posted that Obama Care will cost about another 2.5 Million jobs"

    You obviously watch Fox and don't do your own research. The CBO report is not about jobs offered by employers; it's about the choices workers make (and you do want folks to make their own choices, right, Gunderson?).

    From the CBO report itself:

    “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).”

    February 5, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. sonny chapman

    Hey Fair-Your numbers on the Fed. Deficit are WRONG; again!!

    February 5, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    @Fair

    "The national debt was $10 Trillion when Obama came into office. When he leaves, it will be hovering around $20 Trillion. "

    Blah blah blah. Correlation is not causation. The math shows that the policies and circumstance most responsible for that debt increase are Iraq, Afghanistan, the Bush Tax Cuts, Medicare Part D and unemployment and gov't revenue decreases related to the Great Recession. Stop lying by leaving out the relevant facts in order to try to imply something they directly contradict.

    February 5, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "It’s unclear now what House GOP leaders will do. "

    No it's not. Their bluff has been thoroughly called and folks like Boehner and Ryan and Cantor have quite literally said, publicly, that they will not cause a default on the debt. What they will do is continue to pretend that they're making demands and continue to pretend that the threat is real because it hurts the economy to do so, and because they know the MSM will help them do it by pretending their game playing and fake hostage taking is all still oh so scary and legitimate. Kabuki theater is what they'll do. It's what they've been doing and it's all they have left.

    February 5, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    sonny chapman

    Hey Fair-Your numbers on the Fed. Deficit are WRONG; again!!
    -------
    Yeah Sonny... whatever you say. A quick google search proves it.

    February 5, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. vet in tx

    Hilarious, everyone was quiet when the surplus was blown, then medicare part d has a lifetime bailout (not 3 yrs like the ACA), and the national debt doubled. All of the sudden this happened just because he won twice......seriously, we can't take you seriously of loving this country if you don't admit the past or what you didn't want to acknowledge.

    February 5, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Yeah Sonny... whatever you say. A quick google search proves it."

    A quick Google search also proves that correlation is not causation and that the vast vast majority of that debt increase is still attributable to things other than Obama's policies, i.e., Medicare Part D, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bush's tax cuts and the gov't revenue decreases directly attributable to the unemployment caused by the Great Recession. You didn't mention that part because you want desperately to sell a false narrative.

    February 5, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. don in albuquerque

    Why not cut the amount wasted on our uniformed murder machine in half, and then we will probably quickly find ourselves with a surplus again.

    February 5, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. wendel

    the hell with principles this is an election year. The repo thinking. They really have no cause or agenda other than to get elected.

    February 5, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Tom

    Well, at least some Republicans are able to see another political disaster in the making. Holding the country's credit rating hostage in order to force passage of a partisan agenda is simply a dead issue. The Republicans lost big the last time. If they do it again it will damage their credibility even further. The Democrats know all they have to do is wait and the Republicans will eventually cave. The disturbing thing is the Tea Party wackos can't seem to understand that pulling this stunt again and again will always yield the same result. The majority of the electorate (Democrats, independents and non-crazy Republicans) simply don't like the idea of being blackmailed and bullied by any political party.

    February 5, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Harold Read

    $17 Trilion and growing...

    February 5, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Wow

    See CNN MONEY
    The Congressional Budget Office projects that interest will be $233 billion this year, or 1.3% as a share of the economy.
    By 2024, it will reach $880 billion, or 3.3% of GDP. That means interest will account for the lion's share of the $1.1 trillion deficit projected for that year and will come close to what will be spent on Medicare.

    February 5, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. David Kent

    Not raising the debt ceiling would hurt every man, woman, and child in the US financially. There is a word for people who threaten to hurt people unless they get there way. This has got to stop!

    February 5, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. smith

    don in albuquerque

    Why not cut the amount wasted on our uniformed murder machine in half, and then we will probably quickly find ourselves with a surplus again

    And liberals claim they support the troops. Hmm, by calling them murderers.

    February 5, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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