Ryan says Republicans weigh short-term debt limit increase

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:17pm EST

Republican Vice-Presidential candidate and Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington September 14, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Republican Vice-Presidential candidate and Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington September 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (Reuters) - Republicans in the House of Representatives may press for only a short term extension of U.S. borrowing authority to keep up pressure for significant spending cuts, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said on Thursday.

Ryan, breaking a long public silence since his failed vice presidential bid in the November election, said he believes the Obama administration can and should prioritize payments to avoid a debt default in the event that an increase in the federal debt limit is delayed.

Discussing his party's budget strategy with reporters at a retreat for newly sworn-in House Republicans, Ryan stopped well short of threatening to push the country into default if the party's spending cut demands are not met.

But he said Republicans were considering the best approach to use their leverage over looming fiscal deadlines in February and March to reduce deficits.

"We believe that it would be wrong if we walk out of this spring with no achievement on debt reduction whatsoever because that will hurt the country, that will hurt the economy," Ryan said.

Among options under consideration are a short-term increase in the debt limit, Ryan said without specifying a time frame.

"We're discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension, so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and White House involved in discussions in March."

The first of the fiscal deadlines, the exhaustion of federal borrowing capacity, will happen sometime between mid-February and mid-March. The second deadline, the delayed launch of automatic spending cuts, will occur on March 1. And a third deadline comes on March 27, as Congress must enact new funding for government agencies and programs.

Asked if he was willing to "shoot the hostage" and allow the United States go into default over spending cut demands, Ryan said he was "not willing to use any metaphors like that at all."

(Reporting By David Lawder, Rachelle Younglai and Kim Dixon; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (13)
fromthecenter wrote:
ryan/rubio… The next losing ticket.

Jan 17, 2013 1:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Why is it Obama’s job to priorize the payment of bills? The house is responsible for the finances of the country. They pass the legislation to handle the money, they pass legislation to spend the money, they pass the budget that is placed before the house by their own leaders, so why the hell is it the President’s job to do the job of these guys? Where’s the leadership of the house. They can’t even put a bill before the house that their own party can pass. Great team there. All those all-stars who can’t play with the team. It’s sad that a person runs for office and feels that his way is the only way for over 300,000,000 people. I’m sure that if the people who voted were told what the person would do in Washington, they would still be home watching a better man work with the government. Sad state of affairs, America.

Jan 17, 2013 2:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
rkirchem wrote:
Ryan should be a man and take responsibility for the huge debts he voted to incur.

I despise him, but I do admit that he’s awfully cute.

Jan 17, 2013 2:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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