House Republicans Say They Are Ready to Raise the Debt Limit

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The government could default on its financial obligations if it is not allowed to borrow money to pay bills

House Republicans said Friday they intend to extend the nation's borrowing authority for three months, but will not agree to a long-term increase on the debt limit until both chambers of Congress approve a budget.

President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, said the White House is "encouraged" and repeated a call for an increase in the nation's borrowing authority without any restrictions.

A three-month extension would ensure the federal government does not default on its obligations. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress the nation will reach its debt limit sometime between mid-February and early March.

A vote on the temporary debt limit extension will take place next week, the Associated Press reports.

At a House GOP closed-door retreat in Williamsburg, Va., Speaker John Boehner told lawmakers that they will insist members of Congress don't get paid until a budget is passed. Republicans are angry that the Democratic-controlled Senate has not passed a budget plan in four years.

"Before there is any long-term debt limit increase, a budget should be passed that cuts spending," Boehner said, according to excerpts of his remarks released by his office. "We are going to pursue strategies that will obligate the Senate to finally join the House in confronting the government's spending problem. The principle is simple: no budget, no pay."

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, the GOP's No. 3 leader, said the three-month extension will "meet our immediate obligations and ensure a responsible budget passes both chambers of Congress."

Obama has asked Congress to increase the debt limit without any conditions, as a way to calm financial markets. The fight over raising the debt limit and automatic spending cuts that take effect March 1 will be among the thorniest facing Obama as he begins a second term.

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SOURCE: USA Today
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