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House GOP ready to raise debt limit for three months

1:47 PM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA Today) -- House Republicans said Friday they intend to extend the nation's borrowing authority for three months, but will not agree to a long-term increase on the debt limit until both chambers of Congress approve a budget.

A three-month extension would ensure the federal government does not default on its obligations. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress the nation will reach its debt limit sometime between mid-February and early March.

A vote on the temporary debt limit extension will take place next week, the Associated Press reports.

At the House GOP retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Speaker John Boehner will tell lawmakers that they will insist that members of Congress don't get paid until a budget is passed. Republicans are angry that the Democratic-controlled Senate has not passed a budget plan in four years.

"Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending," Boehner will say, according to excerpts of his remarks released by his office. "We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem. The principle is simple: No budget, no pay."

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, the GOP's No. 3 leader, said in a statement that the three-month extension will "meet our immediate obligations and ensure a responsible budget passes both chambers of Congress."

President Obama has asked Congress to increase the debt limit without any conditions, as a way to calm financial markets. The fight over raising the debt limit and automatic spending cuts that take effect March 1 will be among the thorniest facing Obama as he begins a second term.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., welcomed the overture on the debt limit but said Democrats want no strings attached.

"It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage," said Adam Jentleson, Reid's spokesman. "If the House can pass a clean debt ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it."

The House GOP retreat in Williamsburg concludes Friday.

(USA Today)

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