Might House Republicans move to address the debt ceiling and the fiscal 2014 budget simultaneously?
Some weeks back, I reported for Roll Call that such an option had, at the very least, not been ruled out. When I finally caught up with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan late last week to talk budget strategy, I asked the Wisconsin Republican if he was indeed interested in attaching legislation to raise the federal borrowing limit to a budget resolution, which incidentally, under Senate reconciliation rules cannot be filibustered.
Ryan said two things of potential interest on this topic. First, he isn't "foreclosing" the possibility of tying the debt ceiling to the budget, although this position seemed more about preserving his negotiating position than real interest heading in this direction. However, this might be of interest to Senate Republicans, most of whom adamantly oppose such a deal.
Second, the House Budget Committee chairman still has his eye on the Republican version of a "grand bargain" as it relates to the fiscal 2014 spending plan, the debt ceiling, or both. I say Republican version because Democrats view a grand bargain as one that includes raising taxes; the GOP clearly does not. Here's what Ryan said about his budget strategy as it relates to the debt ceiling, which Congress will have to raise at some point this fall:
"The decisions I'm making are to try and maximize the chance of success in the fall. I want to get a down payment on the debt and the deficit, and I want to get pro-growth policies into law to grow the economy and to create jobs," Ryan said.
On the topic of coupling the debt ceiling and the budget resolution, he said:
"I'm not foreclosing any options at this point. I want to get a down payment on the debt and the deficit; I want entitlement reform and I want pro-growth tax reform, and anything else we can get that grows the economy. And, I'm not going to spend all my time taking options off the table."