A novel debt-ceiling runaround that gets Obama's OK

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the House GOP leadership speak to reporters after a closed-door meeting on avoiding a potential debt crisis, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Joining Boehner, from left, are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the Republican Conference, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. House Republicans have said that they will not agree to a long-term debt ceiling increase unless the Senate works with them to pass a budget deal and have also threatened to withhold Congresss paychecks if either chamber fails to adopt a budget by April 15. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the House GOP leadership speak to reporters after a closed-door meeting on avoiding a potential debt crisis, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Joining Boehner, from left, are Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the Republican Conference, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. House Republicans have said that they will not agree to a long-term debt ceiling increase unless the Senate works with them to pass a budget deal and have also threatened to withhold Congresss paychecks if either chamber fails to adopt a budget by April 15. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite)
Posted: January 24, 2013

WASHINGTON - Forget about raising the federal debt limit. House Republicans are proposing to ignore it altogether - at least until May 18.

The House plans to vote Wednesday on a measure that would leave the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit intact but suspend it from the time the bill passes until mid-May. The declaration that the debt ceiling "shall not apply" means that the government could continue borrowing to cover its obligations to creditors until May 18.

This approach - novel in modern times - would let Republicans avoid a potentially disastrous fight over the debt limit without actually voting to let the Treasury borrow more money.

Besides postponing a partisan fight over the debt limit, the measure seeks to force Senate Democrats to negotiate over a formal budget resolution by mandating that lawmakers' paychecks be held in escrow starting April 15 unless Congress adopts a comprehensive blueprint for spending and tax policy.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the White House welcomes the House Republicans' decision on the debt limit and that President Obama "wouldn't stand in the way" if the bill passes the House. "Clearly, we support extension of the debt ceiling without drama or delay. That has been his position forever - as president and since we've had these rather novel debates about whether or not we should engage in games of chicken over the full faith and credit of the United States."

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