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.