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Debt Ceiling Deadline Looms With GOP in Disarray

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By    |   Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015 10:07 AM

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner's last fight may be the toughest of his career  — passing a bill to raise the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling while facing the wrath of conservative lawmakers who are demanding significant spending reforms be attached to it.

The lame-duck speaker needs to win 30 Republican votes to lift the government's borrowing limit, even if the entire House Democratic Caucus votes with him — and he only pulled 28 votes the last time the House approved a "clean" debt-ceiling increase — one third of whom have since left Congress, The Hill reports.

Boehner is boxed in: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns he'll exhaust his power to remain under the debt ceiling cap by Nov. 3, and afterward will have only cash on hand to pay bills — a larder that may run dry as soon as Nov. 10, The Hill reports.

And with the White House refusing to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, talks on funding the government are apparently on an entirely separate track, The Hill reports.

Against that scenario, it's become clear any bill to raise the debt ceiling without fiscal reforms won't pass the House without Democratic votes, The Hill reports.

According to The Hill, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul — a Republican presidential candidate — and conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus — which helped trigger Boehner's resignation — want to attach to the ceiling debt bill a plan that balances the budget in five years.

"I think it's important that we use this leverage," Paul said Monday, The Hill reports. "Those in the Freedom Caucus are hearing the same message that people want us to exert leverage to use the power of the purse."

Added South Carolina Rep. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of the Freedom Caucus: "The whole purpose to have a debt ceiling is to sit back and use it as an opportunity to figure out why you're borrowing so much money."

Paul and Mulvaney say the debt-limit increase should be paired with a plan to cut the deficit, cap future spending and pass a balanced budget amendment to the debt-limit increase.

Then there's the conservative Republican Study Committee, which represents the majority of the House GOP conference, The Hill reports, which is working on its own plan to balance the budget in under 10 years, and wants its version attached to the debt-limit legislation.

Behind the scenes, a different kind of battle is brewing — for House leadership when Boehner leaves Congress, which he wants to do by Oct. 30.

Politico
reports "it's decision time" for Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee who's being urged to make a bid for House Speaker.

Ryan will have to gauge his support for the bid, Politico reports, citing unnamed sources — and he'll have that sense by the end of the week.

If it's not Ryan, more than a dozen second-tier candidates are considering bids, Politico reports, and the selection process is expected to play out over the next three days — behind closed doors.

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Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner's last fight may be the toughest of his career - passing a bill to raise the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling while facing the wrath of conservative lawmakers who are demanding significant spending reforms be attached to it.
republicans, votes, debt-ceiling, hikes, limited
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2015-07-20
Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015 10:07 AM
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