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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

House to move to debt ceiling vote

House to move to debt ceiling vote
By Erik Wasson - 09-25-13 10:46 AM ET

House Republican leaders are expected to unveil a bill raising the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling Wednesday afternoon.

The bill is likely to tie the debt ceiling hike to a one-year delay for core ObamaCare provisions, such as the individual mandate to buy health insurance. Republicans discussed that delay at a conference meeting Friday.

They are also expected to include a grab bag of other GOP priorities in order to convince members of their conference to agree to raise the debt limit. The hike is expected to be enough to allow the government to keep borrowing money for another year.

By moving to the debt ceiling, GOP leaders appear to hope they can tamp down fervor among rank-and-file members to use a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare.

The government will shut down without a new funding measure on Oct. 1, and the White House and congressional Republicans are not even talking to one another.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday the government faces an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt limit, or it will risk a default that could shock markets and hurt the economy.

The White House has insisted it would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, meaning the ObamaCare language could be a nonstarter with President Obama.

But House GOP leaders face pressure to include such provisions in their bill since many of their members would oppose raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling under all circumstances.

The GOP is also expected to include an approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Environmentalists oppose the project because they say it would massively increase climate change by encouraging the fuel-intensive exploitation of tar sand oil.

Republicans have also discussed including a timeline for Congress to tackle tax reform. The GOP language would require that the reform lower the top individual tax rate to 25 percent and cap federal revenue below 19 percent of gross domestic product.

The bill is on track to be revealed after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his top lieutenants sign off on its content at a weekly leadership strategy meeting late Wednesday afternoon, a senior aide said. That could set up a House vote Friday or Saturday.

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