House Republicans are coalescing around a plan to increase the debt limit for a short period of time in an effort to pressure Senate Democrats to pass a budget, according to GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The mechanism Republicans hope to use is unclear, but the idea, McCarthy told Bloomberg Television on Friday, would be to extend the country’s borrowing authority until closer to the April 15 statutory deadline for the Senate to pass a budget.
“You can’t get out of this without passing a budget,” McCarthy said.
If agreed to by the conference, the plan would kick any potential debt limit breach down the road until after fights over the sequester and federal appropriations have already played out. If those fights yield cuts to federal spending, it would provide the GOP with further cover to increase the debt limit beyond mid-April. However even if Senate Democrats agree to the requirement and pass a budget, it would not constitute a spending cut.
Spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) were not immediately available for comment, but we’ll pass along an update when we get one.
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.