CAMBRIDGE, Md. Jan 31 Republicans in the U.S.
House of Representatives struggled on Friday to reach consensus
on a strategy for lifting the federal debt limit but decided
what they don't want - a "clean" increase and a default crisis,
a senior Republican lawmaker said.
Representative Tom Cole, a close ally of House Speaker John
Boehner, said that House Republicans still had not settled the
conditions they would attach to any increase, and were "working
through" their strategy.
"There's a recognition that the debt ceiling is going to be
raised, and that's critical for the financial markets and the
financial system. But while we work with the president on that,
what can we get that's common ground?" Cole told Reuters in an
interview after a three-day House Republican retreat in
The meeting ended with cancellation of a scheduled news
Congress has a month to negotiate and pass an increase in
the $17 trillion debt cap. The U.S. Treasury estimates that it
would exhaust all remaining borrowing capacity by the end of
February, which would increase the risk debt default and rattle
Cole said party members want to attach "something
substantial" to the increase that can boost growth or help
reduce deficits but also gain some Democratic support.
"Clearly, we don't agree with the president that we should
just raise the debt ceiling and do nothing about the debt," the
Oklahoma congressman said. "But we're trying to be reasonable
and find something."