Williamsburg, Va. — While at a GOP retreat, House Republican leaders on Friday announced a vote next week on a three-month extension of the debt limit, with a requirement that both chambers pass a budget or else go without pay.
The added condition to the short term extension bill aims to force the Democratic-led Senate to pass a budget — something the upper chamber hasn’t done in four years.
“That is a shameful run that needs to end, this year,” House Speaker John Boehner said in his closing remarks at the retreat, according to excerpts provided by his office. “We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem.”
Building onto that, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement that if the Senate or House fail to pass a budget in three months, members of Congress “will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.”
House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy said that “what we’re trying to do is put us on a path to a balanced budget.”
“April 15th is the deadline for both houses to pass a budget,” he continued. “A budget is a roadmap to not only where you are but where you can go. Unfortunately the House has passed one the last two times, but the Senate has not, and what has that created? A $16 trillion debt. An idea of not knowing where our economy is gonna go.”
The short-term extension strategy represents a departure from recent discussions where Republicans pushed that any increase in the debt limit must include spending cuts that amounted to the same size of the increase.
And Republican leaders seem to be steering clear of any suggestions that the party is willing to risk allowing the government to default on its loans –– the consequence should the debt ceiling be kept as is as a way to put pressure on the White House and Senate Democrats to carve out drastic spending cuts.
“We are not going to default- I don’t know of anybody, and I move in fairly fiscally conservative circles within our party — none of us are talking about default,” said conservative GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. He also signaled he agreed with the new House GOP strategy.
“If you can figure out ways to get little types of reforms, little fixes for small extensions I don’t find that objectionable,” Mulvaney told reporters.
This is a notable shift, given that Mulvaney, and many of his colleagues elected in 2010, pushed for major spending cuts in exchange for increasing the debt limit.
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded Friday, saying the Senate would be “happy to consider” the House bill if it would “avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations.”