Republicans seek three-month debt limit increase, Senate budget

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:59pm EST

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) arrives to speak to the media on the ''fiscal cliff'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) arrives to speak to the media on the ''fiscal cliff'' on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (Reuters) - House Republican leaders on Friday said they would seek to pass a three-month extension of federal borrowing authority next week to buy time - on pain of losing their own paychecks - for the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass a budget plan that shrinks budget deficits.

The plan, hatched at a House Republican retreat, marks a new strategy from the party to break a budget deadlock by forcing the Senate to act first.

The Treasury needs congressional authorization to raise the current $16.4 trillion limit on U.S. debt sometime between mid-February and early March.

The Senate has not passed a formal budget resolution in nearly four years, while the House has passed budgets that have died in the Senate.

Under the planned legislation, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said if the Senate or the House fail to pass a budget by April 15, lawmakers' pay would be withheld.

"Next week, we will authorize a three-month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget," Cantor said in an emailed statement.

"If the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay," he said on the last day of a House Republican retreat in Williamsburg.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said there should be no long-term increase in the federal debt limit until the Senate passes a budget, and House Republicans will try to force the Senate into action to cut spending.

"We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem. The principle is simple: no budget, no pay," Boehner said in excerpts of his closing remarks to the retreat at a golf resort in Williamsburg.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the Senate would consider the increase if it was "clean."

"It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage," Jentleson said in an emailed statement. "If the House can pass a clean debt ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it."

Congress has relied largely on stop-gap funding measures to keep government agencies and programs running.

A House Republican leadership aide said it was not currently anticipated that the three-month debt limit increase legislation would include spending cuts. Although Boehner has previously sought at least $1 in long-term spending cuts for every dollar of debt limit increase, the aide said that the reforms associated with requiring budgets from both chambers would meet the speaker's requirements.

Spending cuts would be demanded of any longer term debt limit increase, the aide said, and Congress would still have to continue dealing with two other fiscal deadlines, the March 1 launch of automatic spending cuts, and government funding legislation that is needed by March 27.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (66)
Burns0011 wrote:
Until the *SENATE* passes a budget? Hell no. The responsibility of originating a budget starts in the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The President makes a budget request. The House does not do an up or down vote, no, it modifies the budget request and then votes on it to pass it to the Senate. The Senate then modifies the budget and sends it back to the House.

The streamlining process happens when the Senate makes a budget based on the President’s budget request, and then the House and Senate bills are reconciled in a negotiation, then sent to the House to get an up or down vote, then returned to the Senate for another up or down vote, THEN finally sent to the President to be signed into law.

At NO point does the House wait for the SENATE to originate the budget.

Jan 18, 2013 1:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Burns0011 wrote:
In short, this is the Speaker trying to dodge the responsibilities and duties of the House of Representatives, on behalf of his party. It is a reprehensible action that speaks strongly of the inability of the Republican party to assist in governing the country.

Jan 18, 2013 1:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MikeyLikesIt wrote:
@ Burns0011

“The United States House Committee on the Budget and the United States Senate Committee on the Budget then draft a budget resolution. Following the traditional calendar, both committees finalize their draft resolution by early April and submit it to their respective floors for consideration and adoption.”

It took me less than 2 minutes to look this up. The Senate has not even PROPOSED a budget in 4 years. Meanwhile the house has sent a budget to the Senate every year per the rules and Senate leader Harry Reid has refused to even bring the bill to the Senate floor EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

You’re in the wrong here. The Senate couldn’t even propose a budget when they had a supermajority and the democrats couldn’t pass a budget when the had 2 years of complete control of congress and the presidency. What does that say about them?

But you keep on blaming Republicans if it makes you feel better. The fiscal grown ups in the room know what is actually going on.

Jan 18, 2013 1:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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