House GOP Ties Votes on Debt Limit to Defunding Obamacare

Image: House GOP Ties Votes on Debt Limit to Defunding Obamacare

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 08:53 AM

By Lisa Barron

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House Republicans appear to be moving closer to tying an increase in the debt ceiling to a repeal of the insurance company bailout clause in Obamacare.

After another meeting of members Tuesday, aides indicated that removing the "risk corridor" provision in the healthcare law seemed to have more support than a plan to link the debt limit to approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, reports The Hill.

"Listen, the goal here is to increase the debt ceiling. No one wants to default on our debt," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters after the meeting. "But while we're doing this, we should do something either about jobs or the economy, about the drivers of our debt. And so we're talking to our members, and when we have a decision, we'll let you know."

But it is still not clear that either proposal will gain the necessary votes for the House to pass its own bill to raise the limit by the late-February deadline set by the Treasury Department.

And some GOP legislators have indicated they would not oppose the approval of an increase in the debt ceiling without any conditions.

"A clean debt-ceiling [bill] would not garner my vote, but if the House leadership chooses to go that route and believes that's in the best interest of the country and they don't need my vote to accomplish that, I'm OK with that," Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told The Hill.

Conservatives say they are also wary of another showdown four months after an impasse over the debt ceiling led to a government shutdown that damaged the GOP's image.

"There is an understanding by conservatives in light of history and the trajectory that we're on right now, that you cannot make all the demands that we would like to make," Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey told the publication.

House aides say they expect the legislators to reach a conclusion by the end of this week, reports The Washington Post.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma told the newspaper that Boehner would spend the week "looking for a sweet spot."

"We're in the process of sorting it out." He said. "The number one question is: how do we get to 218 votes?"

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