House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says raising the debt limit should be a one-time deal this Congress, exposing a rift between House and Senate GOP leadership, and putting the squeeze on Democrats to agree to vast, unpopular spending cuts within the next two weeks.
“I don’t see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. “It is my preference that we do this thing one time.”
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) floated the possibility that debt ceiling negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden won’t yield spending cuts dramatic enough to satisfy Republicans, and that Congress might respond by modestly raising the borrowing limit — giving Republicans another bite at the apple after the summer.
Not if Eric Cantor has anything to say about it.
“It is my preference that we do this thing one time,” he said.
Top negotiators want to reach a framework agreement before July 4 recess, which would give Congress one month to turn the deal into legislation and negotiate it. But they’re only now beginning to tackle the issues — particularly health care — that divide the two parties most deeply.
“It’s crunch time in those meetings,” Cantor said. “We are at the point where we’re at some really tough stuff.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.