Republicans Play More Games with Economy Over Debt Limit Instead of Taking Responsible Action

For Immediate Release:

February 4, 2014

The debt limit was suspended until February 7th, at which point the Treasury Department will have to take extraordinary measures to ensure America can pay its bills. House Republican leaders said they would use last week’s Republican retreat to decide their strategy on the debt limit. Instead of reaching agreement, however, House Republicans remain deeply divided and many continue to push for holding action on the debt limit hostage to unrelated political concessions.  Once again, House Republicans appear willing to take our nation’s economy hostage with political games over a wide variety of unrelated issues including: 

 

 

Repealing Parts of
Affordable Care Act
 

Keystone XL Pipeline

 

 

Constitutional Amendment

Unknown

Instead of taking action quickly with a clean debt limit extension, they are considering using a wide range of unrelated policy issues as leverage while they play political games with the economy and create greater uncertainty:

Growing tension, however, is already apparent between the two strategies and their supporters. Some conservatives have said they would urge Boehner to link repeal of the risk corridors to any debt-limit demand, believing the federal health-care law must be part of the negotiations. Other Republicans have said tying the pipeline to the debt limit is a better play in an election year.” [2/3]

“GOP lawmakers, meeting on the final day of a three-day retreat, weighed a variety of demands to present to Democrats as terms for raising the nation's borrowing limit. Underlying Friday's discussion was an awareness that internal party divisions make it unlikely House Republicans can unify around a demand that could be accepted by President Barack Obama and Democrats, who have made clear they have no intention of negotiating over the debt ceiling.” [1/31

“House Republicans are again considering tying a debt limit increase to the cancellation of a piece of Obamacare.”

“During a closed meeting at their retreat here Friday morning, rank and file Republicans seemed to be gravitating toward trying a lift in the borrowing limit to the cancellation of the the so-called risk corridors and reinsurance fund in Obamacare.”

“Reps. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) spoke in favor of eliminating these provisions, according to sources in the room. But there were other ideas as well. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) mentioned the option of trying to tie the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to the debt limit. Others discussed various budget reforms.” [1/31

“Republican leaders ‘have got to do an awful lot to get us to vote to raise the debt ceiling,’ said Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah. The House will try to attach Republican priorities to a debt ceiling increase, but ‘it’s going to have to be impressive if we’re going to add another trillion dollars to our debt,’ Mr. Chaffetz added.”

Topping the list is the repeal of one provision in the health law in which the government would step in to pay insurance companies for some of the increased premium costs if insurers end up with too many sick or high-risk customers signed up through the health insurance exchanges. … Other ideas include repealing a tax on medical devices that helps pay for the health care law, removing an excise tax on insurance companies, or demanding the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.” [1/24]

Some members have discussed eliminating so-called “risk corridors” in the healthcare reform law, which Republicans equate to a possible bailout of insurance companies. Others are eyeing items that could attract some Democratic support, like rolling back the medical device tax or authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.” [1/24]

Several Republicans have recognized that it is irresponsible and reckless to risk the country’s first-ever default over political games:

Speaker John Boehner: “We know what the obstacles are that we face, but we believe that defaulting on our debt is the wrong thing. We don't want to do that.” [USA Today, 1/30/14]

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN): “No Republican I've talked to wants to default on the debt.” [USA Today, 1/30/14]

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA): “The Speaker has a good gauge as to what’s politically doable, and what’s not.  I think he’s been very clear in that we’re not going to go to brinksmanship on this, and roll the dice with the U.S. economy.” [The Hill, 1/28/14]

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC): “at the end of the day, the full faith and credit of country is very important and we’ve got to take it seriously. I think this conference does.” [The Hill, 1/28/14]

If they are serious about avoiding default, it’s time for Republicans to bring forward legislation to ensure America can pay its bills without creating another manufactured crisis.  Time is running out to raise the debt limit and give certainty to the nation’s businesses, families, and economy.

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