House Republicans are about to fold on the debt limit. They are no longer going to demand that any increase in the limit be matched with spending cuts. But because nothing in Congress can be simple and easy, the House Republicans are going to wrap up the debt ceiling in a convoluted face saving measure.
Next week House Republicans will pair a three month increase in the debt limit with a demand that the Senate pass a budget. It would require that if a budget is not approved in time, members of Congress will not get paid. From Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office:
The first step to fixing this problem is to pass a budget that reduces spending. The House has done so, and will again. The Democratic Senate has not passed a budget in almost four years, which is unfair to hardworking taxpayers who expect more from their representatives. That ends this year.
We must pay our bills and responsibly budget for our future. Next week, we will authorize a three month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget. Furthermore, if the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, Members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.
Budgets are legally non-binding procedures. They are not laws and they have no real power. Why Republicans have so fetishized passing a “budget” when it is the authorization bills that actually matter is beyond me.
The important thing is that the House Republicans are not going to hold the debt ceiling hostage right now, but want to leave the door open to possibly trying to again in three months if the sequestration and government funding fights don’t go their way.
Photo by House GOP Conference under Creative Commons license