Senate GOP Leader Sets Up Another Debt Ceiling Fight

Susan Walsh/AP

It's a month ending with a "y" or "r," so that means it's time for another political fight over the debt ceiling.

On Fox News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear he's going to push for policy riders on an increase in the debt ceiling.

"I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling, when we have a debt the size of our economy, is irresponsible," McConnell said Sunday. "So we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country." And while McConnell again insisted that the U.S. would not default on its debt, he added "We ought to attach something significant for the country to his request to increase the debt ceiling."

The U.S. debt limit must be raised by the end of February, says Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, if the U.S. is not to default on its debt. Lew asked Congress in a letter Wednesday to raise the limit by February 7.

Right now, especially after what happened last fall, it's hard to see the Obama administration compromising on a "clean" debt-limit extension, which would have no other policies or spending cuts attached. But McConnell isn't the only one looking for a fight. "The speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it, but a 'clean' debt limit increase simply won't pass in the House," John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said this week.

Back in October, GOP leaders agreed to pass a clean extension of the debt ceiling at the last minute as part of the deal to end the government shutdown, but did so without the support of most House Republicans. Now, with elections coming up, a vote to extend the limit is even harder for some members to stomach.

With the State of the Union and the annual Republican retreat coming up this week, there's even less time than there may seem for Congress to deal with the ceiling. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks, and we may have yet another deadline debt-limit standoff right around the corner.

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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

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

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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