Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins both want to raise the nation's debt limit without enacting spending cuts, both criticizing their party's refusal to budge on the issue.
Murkowski, of Alaska, and Collins, of Maine, both say the country has a responsibility to pay its debts, reports ABC News, with Collins saying the debt limit must be raised because “the U.S. cannot default on its obligations to pay for spending that has already occurred."
The two senators want to simply raise the debt limit without political entanglements, but the battle lines between Democrats and Republicans are not so simple. The debate, which has been going on since 2011, has pitted Democrats who want to extend it cleanly, with Republicans demanding spending cuts must accompany any increase.
During the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of the year, Republicans in the House and Senate rejected any deal that allowed President Barack Obama to raise the debt limit on his own, and the deal passed without a long-term debt-limit agreement.
The Senate generally has agreed with Democrats' call for extending the debt limit, while House Republicans have rejected such plans, including refusing Speaker John Boehner's “Plan B” fiscal-cliff proposal, a fiscal cliff solution that would have raised taxes on those making over $1 million per year, while freezing lower tax levels for others.
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