House Republicans talk about returning to 'Gephardt Rule'

House Republicans are discussing a return to the "Gephardt Rule," which would automatically raise the debt ceiling when the House approves a budget, according to Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).

Dent, one of just 28 House Republicans to vote for the clean debt-ceiling hike approved by the House on Tuesday, said his conference is talking about the rule named after former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).

He said the discussions are sparked by the difficulty Republicans have had in approving hikes to the debt ceiling, and in winning concessions from the White House and Democrats on spending.

“So there's some discussion about returning to that standard, so we don't have to go through these debt ceiling dramas every so often,” Dent said on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown." “Whether or not we could ever move back to that old policy, I don't know. But believe me, it's being discussed.”

The debt-ceiling votes are typically difficult ones for members of both parties. Votes in favor of raising the debt ceiling can often be used in negative campaign ads.

The “Gephardt Rule,” was in effect from 1979 until Republicans suspended it when they took over the House in 1995. But they used it again to raise the debt ceiling as recently as 2003 and 2005.  

The rule deemed the House to have raised the debt ceiling, when a budget resolution was approved. It prevented members from having to cast a direct vote on raising the debt limit.

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