Paul Ryan: GOP Getting Ready to Make Debt Ceiling Demands

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 15 2013 5:36 PM

Paul Ryan: GOP Is Getting Ready to Make Debt Ceiling Demands

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House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan says Republicans will want concessions to raise the debt limit

Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images

There was lots of patting each other on the back during the Sunday talk shows this week as the architects of the budget deal defended their compromise. On NBC, Senate Budget Committee chair Sen Patty Murray, D- Wash., and her House counterpart Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wisc., insisted that the budget deal that easily passed the House last week was an example of how two deeply divided parties can come together. “It's a step forward that shows that there can be other breakthroughs and compromise if you take the time to know somebody, know what their passions are, and know how you can work together,” Murray said. Yet the measure still faces challenges in the Senate due to opposition from Republicans. "The struggle is still on in the United States Senate. We will need about eight Republicans to come our way,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said on CBS. “I feel we'll have a good strong showing from the Democratic side, but we need bipartisan support to pass it."

There were other hints that what CNN has called the “warm and fuzzy feeling” won’t be lasting long. Ryan told Fox News that Republicans will soon get together to figure out what they can get out of Democrats in order to raise the debt limit, suggesting Republicans will be more demanding. “We as a caucus—along with our Senate counterparts—are going to meet and discuss what it is we’re going to want out of the debt limit,” Ryan said. “We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we’re going to accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

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It’s unclear exactly when the government will reach the borrowing limit. The debt limit has been suspended until February 7, but the Treasury has tools to keep borrowing for a limited time. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deadline would likely hit sometime between March and June. Although some had expressed hope that the bipartisan budget compromise could lead to an era of cooperation to get things done that seems highly unlikely. In fact, the budget “is likely to be one of the final pieces of significant legislation to pass the 113th Congress as midterm elections loom,” notes the Washington Post.  

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.