House Republicans will vote next week to raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling for three months and stop pay for members of Congress if the Senate doesn’t pass a budget — something it has not done in three years.
“A long-term increase in the debt limit that is not preceded by meaningful and responsible reductions in government spending might avert a default, but it would also invite a downgrade of our nation’s credit that damages our economy, hurts families and small businesses, and destroys jobs,” House Speaker John Boehner said on Friday, according to Politico
The move marks a change in the GOP’s strategy in the upcoming debt-ceiling talks with President Barack Obama — bypassing the opportunity to extract pledges for deep spending cuts out of Obama while forcing the Senate to pass a budget, which it has not done in three years, Politico reports.
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A representative for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the GOP move “reassuring.”
“It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage,” Reid’s spokesman, Adam Jentleson, told Politico. “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.
“As President Obama has said, this issue is too important to middle-class families’ economic security to use as a ploy for collecting a ransom,” Jentleson said. “We have an obligation to pay the bills we have already incurred — bills for which many House Republicans voted.”
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