Report: House GOP Mulling Short-Term “Clean” Debt Deal

January 26, 2023

House Republicans are considering passing one or more short-term suspensions of the debt ceiling this summer, in an attempt to buy time for further negotiations on federal spending and deficits, the Congressional news site Roll Call reported Thursday.

The news comes as House Republicans are in a standoff with the White House over the debt ceiling. Republicans want to include spending cuts in any deal to raise the ceiling, but the White House is refusing to negotiate, saying it won’t use the threat of defaulting on the nation’s debt as a “political football.”

The U.S. reached its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit on January 19, prompting Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take what she called “certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations.”

Yellen had warned in a letter to Congress those measures would allow the government to buy time so that Congress can negotiate and pass a debt limit increase—but that purchased time would likely “be exhausted before early June.” 

Any such short-term measure would likely be “clean” of any strings attached—including spending cuts—according to Roll Call, and be designed as a suspension of the borrowing cap rather than a dollar increase in the debt limit. Presumably, Republicans would find it easier to vote for such a deal after pledging to only back a debt limit increase paired with spending cuts.

Sources familiar with the talks described them as preliminary and subject to change. Meanwhile, House Republican leadership, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) maintain that the only way they’ll vote for a longer-term debt limit fix is by tying it to spending cuts. 

McCarthy, however, has claimed “none of that is true” of any allegations that he supports cuts to social security and medicare as part of a debt deal.

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