House Republicans are coming around to the idea of raising the debt ceiling—for a few months anyway. At a closed-door session at the caucus' annual Williamsburg, Va., retreat yesterday, Paul Ryan championed a plan to pass an extension of, say, one to three months, and shift the debate to the government's other looming economic doomsday deadlines, like the March 1 automatic spending cuts, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Several other ideas were put forward at the meeting as well, but the extension seems to have the momentum. "We're all pretty much on board," said one representative, who added that John Boehner was among the idea's fans. Ryan told reporters yesterday that leadership hoped to use the retreat to manage the rank-and-file's expectations and highlight the "realities of divided government," and the consequences of upcoming fiscal deadlines, the Huffington Post reports. In other debt ceiling news:
- In the Senate, Republican Pat Toomey is pushing ahead with a fallback plan that would order the Treasury to prioritize payments on US debt interest, military salaries, and Social Security, and authorize it to borrow as needed to make those payments. The bill now has 30 co-sponsors, CNNMoney reports, but there's no sign that Obama would sign it.
- But now-ex-Senator Jim DeMint is urging Republicans not to compromise, telling the Financial Times that hitting the debt ceiling wouldn't be a big deal. "The government itself is not going to shut down," he said. "In fact, I don't think people are even going to notice it."