House GOP Sets Vote To Suspend Debt Ceiling

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 21 2013 4:19 PM

House Republicans Seek Vote To Suspend Debt Ceiling Until May 19

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Under the GOP bill, the Treasury Department would be able to borrow as much as it needs to pay bills before May 19

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling until May 19, reports Reuters. The difference between this bill and previous efforts is that it doesn’t increase the borrowing limit, but rather suspends the debt ceiling entirely for almost four months, points out the Hill. That means the Treasury would be allowed to borrow as needed to pay any bills that require payment before May 19. On that date, the debt limit would automatically increase by however much borrowing was done until then from the current $16.4 trillion.

The bill actually sets two deadlines. First, the House and Senate must pass a formal budget by April 15. If lawmakers fail to do that, their pay would be withheld until a budget is passed, or at the end of the 113th congress in late 2014, whichever comes first. Some experts believe this measure may be unconstitutional because Congress is prohibited from “varying” its own pay, explains the Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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