Budget Negotiations Continue — And So Does the Clock on the Debt Ceiling

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) listens during a press conference on Capitol Hill March 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
Oct. 30, 2013, 2:10 p.m.

With so much at­ten­tion fo­cused on what, if any­thing, can be ac­com­plished by the budget con­fer­ence, it would be easy to for­get about the debt lim­it.

But many of the budget con­fer­ees have not for­got­ten.

“My goal is to fund the gov­ern­ment between now and Sept. 30 and make sure we don’t have an­oth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down,” said Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C. “When it comes to rais­ing the debt lim­it for a long peri­od of time — that’s where we need to talk about en­ti­tle­ment re­form and tax code re­form.”

He ad­ded: “That’s the point of lever­age.”

The Oc­to­ber deal that ended the gov­ern­ment shut­down, fun­ded the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment through Jan. 15, and cre­ated the budget con­fer­ence also raised the debt lim­it through Feb. 7. And, budget deal or not, Con­gress will still be faced with wheth­er to lift that lim­it.

If the lim­it isn’t in­creased by Feb. 7, the Treas­ury De­part­ment still has some tools, of­ten called “ex­traordin­ary meas­ures,” to keep pay­ing the na­tion’s ob­lig­a­tions. But the Bi­par­tis­an Policy Cen­ter es­tim­ates those will run out by the end of Feb­ru­ary or mid-March.

When asked about the debt lim­it as an­oth­er arena for en­ti­tle­ment and tax ne­go­ti­ations, Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, the Alabama Re­pub­lic­an who serves as rank­ing mem­ber on the Sen­ate Budget Com­mit­tee, said, “We’re go­ing to need to con­tin­ue to use every op­por­tun­ity to cre­ate dis­cus­sions for pro­gress.”

“Even if we can’t reach an agree­ment in this com­mit­tee on some of these is­sues, maybe we can be­gin a dis­cus­sion that will lead to an agree­ment in Janu­ary and Feb­ru­ary,” he said.

In­deed, many mem­bers are bank­ing on budget ne­go­ti­ations yield­ing enough ac­cord that it would al­le­vi­ate the pres­sure cre­ated by the debt lim­it in the past.

“Let’s do this budget and reach an ac­cord, and I think if we reach the right ac­cord, it will give us the an­swer about what the debt lim­it should be,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “I don’t want to do this and then go through a sep­ar­ate ne­go­ti­ation about the debt lim­it a month later.”

It’s un­clear wheth­er or how the debt ceil­ing will be used to ex­tract any sort of con­ces­sions this time around, par­tic­u­larly be­cause the dead­line to in­crease it will come closer to the 2014 midterm elec­tions. Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell has said he won’t use it in the fight to stop Obama­care.

Rep. Chris Van Hol­len of Mary­land, the top Demo­crat on the House Budget Com­mit­tee, called for the debt lim­it to be a part of any budget deal that emerges from the con­fer­ence.

“The whole is­sue of the debt ceil­ing should be a part of this dis­cus­sion,” he said. “If there’s an agree­ment reached, there should be a com­pre­hens­ive agree­ment.”

What We're Following See More »
WILL THEY MAKE THE INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE?
2,000 High-Risk Dams in Need of Repair
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

If President Trump gets his wish and Congress delivers him a $1 trillion infrastructure package to sign, engineers will be clamoring to get a number of dams a piece of that pie. "Nearly 2,000 state-regulated high-hazard dams in the United States were listed as being in need of repair in 2015, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. A dam is considered “high hazard” based on the potential for the loss of life as a result of failure. By 2020, 70 percent of the dams in the United States will be more than 50 years old, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers."

Source:
PLEDGES OBAMACARE REPEAL
Pence: White House Is in the “Promise-Keeping Business”
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Over at the White House, I like to say we're in the promise-keeping business these days." That was Vice President Pence's message to CPAC on Thursday night. Specifically, he pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare, and reform the immigration system.

Source:
HAD ATTRACTED A CROWD TODAY
Alt-Right Leader Spencer Removed from CPAC
17 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SAYS LEFT WILL GO INTO “MELTDOWN”
Cruz Predicts Another SCOTUS Vacancy “This Summer”
21 hours ago
THE LATEST
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
23 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login