House Republicans will opt not to push a short-term extension of the debt-ceiling, and instead will move quickly to bring two bills to the floor that they hope will be approved, merged, and sent to the Senate in short order, according to senior GOP aides.
The first piece of legislation would ensure that paychecks for essential government employees who have been working through the shutdown are delivered on time – a sensitive subject, considering the pay period for those employees commences at week's end.
The second measure would establish a negotiating team for the debt-ceiling and other fiscal debates. The group would be bipartisan and comprised of members of both chambers, and would immediately begin talks on a range of fiscal issues.
These two pieces of legislation, if approved, would merge and then be sent to the Senate.
Republican leadership thinks that Senate Democrats, who have emphasized easing the shutdown-related pain on government employees, would be hard-pressed not to approve a bill that ensures timely paychecks for those employees – even if it means agreeing to comprehensive negotiations less than 10 days removed from the Treasury Department's Oct. 17 deadline for raising the debt-ceiling.
A proposal was floated to House Republicans late Monday night that would have extended the debt-limit for roughly one month in exchange for commensurate spending cuts and language that would instruct the Treasury Department to prioritize its payments if the Oct. 17 deadline is not met. Republican aides insist that a short-term debt-limit extension could still happen -- but only after they get Democrats to sit down at the negotiating table.
"I'm not going to raise the debt ceiling without talking about the deficit," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said after Tuesday morning's GOP conference meeting,
Fawn Johnson contributed. contributed to this article.