House GOP Won’t Pursue Short-Term Debt-Ceiling Deal — For Now

House Speaker John Boehner walks through a corridor on October 5, 2013 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Tim Alberta
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Tim Alberta
Oct. 8, 2013, 4:36 a.m.

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 to this article.
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