U.S. House Republican leaders propose linking debt limit to military pensions

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:48pm EST

WASHINGTON Feb 10 (Reuters) - Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives will seek to make an increase in the federal debt limit conditional on the repeal of a planned cut in military pension benefits approved in December, Representative Mo Brooks said on Monday.

Brooks, who spoke as he was leaving a meeting of House Republicans, said he did not believe the plan would attract the support of a majority of his party colleagues because of its cost of about $7 billion over 10 years. Several Republicans left the meeting voicing skepticism about the plan, but House Speaker John Boehner could try to win enough Democratic votes to secure passage.

The Republican leadership proposed to pay for the reversal of the pension reductions by extending automatic spending cuts on non-discretionary federal programs by an additional year. But Brooks said many Republicans were concerned that the offset was too far into the future.

The U.S. Treasury has said it will exhaust all remaining borrowing capacity if the $17 trillion debt limit is not increased by Feb. 27 and could begin to experience payment difficulties shortly thereafter.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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