Republicans Said to Plan Debt-Limit Measure Amid Shutdown

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia indicated that Republicans and Democrats should negotiate their differences on government spending and increasing the nation’s borrowing authority at one time.

Republicans want to “sit down and talk to resolve our differences” on both issues, Cantor told reporters today at the U.S. Capitol.

House Republican leaders are weighing their next move in a standoff that has shut down the government and risks a U.S. default in two weeks.

They plan to bring up a measure to raise the U.S. debt-limit as soon as next week as part of a new attempt to force President Barack Obama to negotiate on the budget, according to three people with knowledge of the strategy.

The approach would merge the disputes over ending the partial government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling into one fiscal fight.

“I’d like to get one agreement and be done,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told reporters yesterday without offering details.

Cantor didn’t provide details on when Republicans will introduce a measure to raise the debt ceiling. Leaders will meet with rank-and-file members behind closed doors tomorrow morning to discuss the next move.

No Incentive

Republican leaders are attempting to pair their party’s priorities with a debt-limit increase, a plan they shelved last month to focus on a stopgap measure to fund the government in the new fiscal year. The goal is to have a bill ready in the coming days, even without resolving the partial government shutdown, according to a Republican lawmaker and two leadership aides who asked not to be identified to discuss the strategy.

There’s no incentive for the Republican-controlled House to take up a Senate-passed short-term measure without add-ons because many lawmakers don’t yet feel the effects of the government shutdown now in its third day, the people said.

Republicans are trying to navigate battles over reopening the government and raising the debt-limit in a way that lets them push for spending cuts and changes to Obama’s health-care law while also avoiding default sometime after Oct. 17.

The goal is to force a deal on both spending and deficit reduction at the same time, they said.

Plan Derailed

Last month, Republican leaders had planned to take up a debt-limit bill that paired spending cuts, looser regulations and a delay in the Affordable Care Act with the increase in the borrowing cap rather than leading to a government shutdown over the budget on the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year.

That plan was derailed as rank-and-file members wanted to concentrate their fight on the stopgap spending measure.

Representative Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who leads the House Budget Committee is working on revising his party’s debt-limit package after lawmakers also complained that it didn’t trim entitlement programs enough or attempted to balance the budget in 10 years.

The U.S. Senate will consider a debt-limit increase before an Oct. 17 deadline free of any of the spending cuts or policy changes that Republicans are demanding, Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday.

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