WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House will vote next week to permit the government to borrow more money to meet its obligations, a move aimed at heading off a market-rattling confrontation with President Barack Obama over the so-called debt limit.
Full details aren't settled yet, but the measure would give the government about three more months of borrowing authority beyond a deadline expected to hit as early as mid-February, No. 2 House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia said Friday.
The legislation wouldn't require immediate spending cuts as earlier promised by GOP leaders such as Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Instead, it's aimed at forcing the Democratic-controlled Senate to join the House in debating the federal budget. It would try to do so by conditioning pay for members of Congress on passing budget measures through the House and Senate.
We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem, Boehner told GOP lawmakers at a retreat in Williamsburg, Va. The principle is simple: ‘no budget, no pay.'
But the idea ran into opposition from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democrats who called it a gimmick because it would set up another potential confrontation in only a few months. Votes from Democrats might be needed to help pass the measure if GOP conservatives opposed to any increase in the debt limit withhold their support.
This proposal does not relieve the uncertainty faced by small businesses, the markets and the middle class, said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill. This is a gimmick unworthy of the challenges we face and the national debate we should be having. The message from the American people is clear: no games, no default.
The Senate hasn't passed a budget since 2009, which has drawn lots of criticism from Republicans but protected Democrats controlling the chamber from politically difficult votes. The GOP measure would cut off or delay paychecks for lawmakers in either House or Senate if their chamber had not passed a budget resolution by April 15.