GOP House members back plan to raise debt ceiling but still expect entitlement cuts

Los Angeles Times: House Republican Leaders Plan To Raise Debt Ceiling
House Republican leaders abruptly announced they would vote next week to temporarily extend the nation's debt limit, sharply reducing the threat that the government might default on its obligations, but leaving the party still divided as it casts about for the best way to pressure President Obama for more budget cuts. ... Many Republicans, particularly in the House, are still smarting from the tax hikes on the wealthy the president won in the New Year's Day "fiscal cliff" deal. They are primed to fight for cuts to Medicare and other domestic programs, while seeking to divert Obama from his priorities on gun violence and immigration. But House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and other members of the leadership have been warning their restive members that a fight over the debt ceiling risked harm to the economy for which Republicans probably would receive the blame (Mascaro and Memoli, 1/18). 

The Washington Post: House Republicans Agree To Vote On Bill To Raise Debt Limit For 3 Months
Though Obama has in the past insisted on increases of sufficient length to calm financial markets and remove any doubt about the ability of the U.S. government to pay its bills, the official said the president would accept a "clean" short-term extension that did not include cuts. "We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay" (Helderman and Montgomery, 1/18). 

The Hill: Key House Conservatives Back Debt-Limit Plan, Win Budget Concessions
Leaders of the most conservative bloc in the House Republican Conference are backing leadership's plan to increase the debt ceiling for three months, even though the increase has no concrete spending cuts attached to it. In exchange, conservatives have won assurances that the 2014 House budget will contain deeper spending cuts than the 2013 budget. ... Last year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget contained $5 trillion in spending cuts but did not balance until nearly 2040. A more
conservative RSC budget would have balanced within 10 years. ... The 2013 Ryan budget contained massive changes to entitlements, including partially privatizing Medicare, making food stamps and Medicaid block grants, and capping Medicaid. it also contained tax reform aimed at lowering individual and corporate tax rates so that the top rate drops to 25 percent. The current top individual rate is now 39.6 percent after the "fiscal cliff" deal. To balance the budget within 10 years, Ryan may have to consider cuts to
benefits for seniors over 55 years old or drastic actions such as closing government departments. (Wasson, 1/18).

Politico: Republicans Think Sequestration Is Better Fight
Republicans are diving into a strategy to resolve the debt ceiling standoff that they believe will maximize their leverage in the upcoming fiscal fights and show they're not trying to plunge the nation into default. ... Republicans hope that putting the sequester fight front and center places them on politically more popular ground since Obama will have to act to stop the steep spending cuts from taking effect. The president has said he wants more "balanced" cuts than simply slashing Pentagon funding, and they hope he will put more entitlement cuts on the table with his back against the wall (Sherman, 1/19).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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