Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Shutdown Would Linger Under House GOP Plan to Raise Debt Limit

There’s nothing about reopening the government in the House Republican leadership plan to raise the debt ceiling for the next six weeks. In fact, the proposal unveiled today would keep the partial federal shutdown in place during that time, as presumed leverage to force President Barack Obama to strike a deficit reduction deal.

“He wants both a clean debt ceiling increase and a clean CR,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, a prominent tea party conservative, said on CNN this morning. “Well, we’re only going to give him half of what he wants.”

Asked what it would take for Republicans to endorse a continuing resolution that would end the shutdown, Speaker John A. Boehner said he would reveal that to Obama at his meeting with other GOP leaders around 4:30 this afternoon.

Boehner plans to put the debt bill to a vote on Friday, but nonetheless hold lawmakers in town on Saturday as well. Members were told officially today that next week’s Columbus Day recess has been canceled and that they would be expected back at the Capitol for votes starting Monday night

Obama has insisted Congress reopen the government without any strings attached, and it is far from clear how many Democrats in either the House or Senate would be willing to embrace the debt increase offer without language on federal spending as well.

Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., told reporters today that Democrats probably could support the six-week debt limit increase, but he cautioned that “the devil is in the details.”

Some Democrats may argue that, with today’s offer coming a full week before the Oct. 17 deadline for default being used by the Treasury Department, there’s a  likelihood that Republicans will make more concessions in the coming days.

Under the plan revealed today, if the impasse lasts until the end of the Treasury borrowing window the Republicans now want to create, which would close the weekend before Thanksgiving, the government shutdown would have lasted in the neighborhood of 15 percent of the new fiscal year.

The Republican announcement, after the leaders spent 90 minutes selling the plan to the rank and file, came after Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warned the Senate Finance Committee that a failure to extend the government’s ability to borrow money “could be deeply damaging” to financial markets and that talk of having the government prioritize its debts if the $16.7 trillion limit is breached was profoundly misguided.

“The United States should not be put in a position of making such perilous choices for our economy and our citizens,” Lew said. “There is no way of knowing the irrevocable damage such an approach would have on our economy and financial markets.”

Matt Fuller contributed to this report.

  • vikings55

    This won’t hold. They now collectively admit that you can’t default. All the while keep the Government shut. They take an issue where the polling was marginally better for them and take it off the table and then continue the fight they are getting nailed in the polls for. Poor judgment. All the while, Obama will stick to his guns and say he will talk once the Government is open. What’s the GOP say then? “no, it stays shut for 42 days while we chat”. They now look like they shut it down over an extortion attempt on a law, then tried to walk that bit back (making it look like they shut it down for no reason) and now are trying to charge forward again. The moderates are getting killed in their home districts and will eventually cave. There whole strategy was based on the fact that they thought the people at large would side with them because they all hate the law. they just don’t and certainly don’t think this is proper behaviour by a long shot.

    • Layla

      Their voters are siding with them. Shut it down, leave it shut down.

  • giatny

    Is there nothing too idiotic for the GOP to do? Their stupidity is handing
    the entire government to Obama in 2014. The shutdown is hurting jobs,
    people and the economy. The insanity must stop. The amount of money
    being lost through this nightmare exceeds any concessions the GOP
    could have gotten. Even worse they want to end the sequester which
    was the ONLY success they had had on deficit reduction.

    • Jb Feucht

      Voters gave the GOP a license to be idiotic. Thanks to can’t lose congressional districts and low turn out primaries. End gerrymandering.

  • Wuthie

    We need to change the law so that when congress approves a bill and it is signed into law it would not be necessary for congress to again vote to borrow money to pay that bill.

  • thereasonableprogressive

    I’m not sure what a six-week extension will prove, but I suppose it can’t do too much harm. If I were President Obama, however, I would take a hardline on these deadlines. Congress, do your job, pass essential legislation, and then, and only then, talk about restructuring our social insurance programs. And I hope the President doesn’t make ANY commitments in a “grand bargain” with Speaker Boehner. At present Republicans simply don’t have a mandate or authority to “demand” changes in the ACA, entitlements, or any major programs. First they need to win some elections.

  • Socialism: Organized Evil

    Today’s democrats are a joke.

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    It is Harry Reid who is refusing to compromise.

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