Forget about raising the federal debt limit. House Republicans are proposing to ignore it altogether -- at least until May 18.
The House plans to vote Wednesday on a measure that would leave the $16.4 trillion debt limit intact but declare that it “shall not apply” from the date the measure passes until mid-May.
This approach -- novel in modern times -- would let Republicans avoid a potentially disastrous fight over the debt limit without actually voting to let the Treasury borrow more money.
The House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the measure Monday; it is scheduled for a hearing in the Rules Committee on Tuesday and to hit the House floor on Wednesday. In addition to postponing a partisan fight over the debt limit, the measure seeks to force Senate Democrats to negotiate over a formal budget resolution by mandating that lawmakers’ paychecks be held in escrow starting April 15 unless Congress adopts a comprehensive framework for spending and tax policy.
It was unclear early Tuesday how Senate Democrats would respond to the measure, assuming it is adopted by the House. But Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats are planning to draft a budget for the first time in nearly four years, and White House political adviser David Plouffe on Sunday welcomed the return to “regular order” after two years of careening from crisis to crisis on the budget.
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