House Republicans plan vote on three-month debt-limit boost

House Republicans plan to vote next week on a three-month extension of U.S. borrowing authority in an effort to force the Democratic-led Senate to adopt a budget plan.

“We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government’s spending problem,” Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement today at the end of the party’s private policy retreat at a resort near Williamsburg, Virginia. “The principle is simple: no budget, no pay.”

Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said in a statement that members of Congress won’t be paid if the House or Senate doesn’t pass a budget by the end of the proposed three-month debt-limit increase.

The Treasury Department has said the U.S. will exceed its $16.4 trillion borrowing authority sometime from mid-February to early March. Congress also faces other fiscal deadlines in the next 90 days.

Republicans are dropping their insistence that a short-term extension be accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar cut in government spending, according to a party leadership aide. Republicans will continue to seek spending reductions as part of any long-term increase, the aide said.

House Republicans plan to use alternative means to force spending cuts, including the debate over legislation to continue financing government agencies. Such financing authority is set to lapse on March 27.

Spending Cuts

Congress will also confront in March the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts, half from defense, that were postponed in the Jan. 1 tax deal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement that it was “reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage.” Reid is a Nevada Democrat.

“If the House can pass a clean debt-ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it,” Jentleson said. He didn’t address Cantor’s statement about requiring members of Congress to forfeit their pay if both houses don’t pass a budget.

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