House Republicans Weigh Short-Term Debt Limit Extension

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., participate in a press conference Tuesday morning. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., participate in a press conference Tuesday morning. Evan Vucci/AP

With the government shutdown entering its second week and the Oct. 17 debt-limit deadline looming, House Republicans are poised to pursue a strategy that deals with each crisis separately, with an emphasis on agreeing to a short-term debt-ceiling deal as quickly as possible.

According to several high-ranking Republican aides, the House GOP leadership on Tuesday morning will inform lawmakers of its plan to continue passing individual funding bills to reopen specific areas of the federal government. On a separate track, the House majority will pursue a short-term extension of the debt limit in hopes of reaching an agreement with the Senate before next Thursday's deadline.

The proposal being floated right now, according to aides, would extend the debt limit for roughly one month and include dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. To win over skeptical conservatives, the House proposal is also likely to include language that would instruct the Treasury Department to prioritize its payments in the event a debt-ceiling agreement is not reached.

The decision to work separately on resolving the government-funding and debt-ceiling fights will likely surprise Republican lawmakers, many of whom acknowledged last week that they seemed to be heading inexorably toward one big, comprehensive negotiation. But with so little time remaining before the Treasury Department's Oct. 17 deadline, and the severe implications of a government default, the House leadership seems prepared to prioritize its crises.

Whereas a government shutdown was always viewed as potentially harmful -- but not lethal -- there is widespread acknowledgment within the House GOP Conference, even among members who doubt the Treasury Department's forecasts, that failure to act on the Oct. 17 deadline could be catastrophic. Indeed, even as some Republicans last week continued advancing the argument that a true "default" is impossible, they also expressed concern about markets and acknowledged that something would need to be done by Oct. 17.

Whether conservative lawmakers will go for this specific proposal remains to be seen. While it satisfies the "Boehner Rule" -- one dollar of spending cuts (or reforms) for every new dollar in debt -- some members have expressed skepticism about another short-term extension.

But with Washington already mired in a partisan impasse over government funding, House GOP leadership is likely to tell lawmakers that this proposal is making the best of a bad situation. In passing a short-term extension of the debt limit -- which the White House signaled on Monday it would accept -- House Republicans could buy themselves time to continue working on separate deals to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling on terms they favor.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.