Debt ceiling fears prompt fallback plan from GOP appropriator

Latham said his bill is partly a response to what he called "scare tactics" that these critical payments would not be made.

"The White House and irresponsible special-interest groups have begun employing scare tactics as a means of achieving their political ends in the debt-limit debate," he said Friday. "My legislation removes the use of these priority groups as political pawns and shields them from these contentious debates."

He also said the bill would allow the government to meet its basic commitments while a longer-term plan is negotiated.

Latham's bill comes as debt-ceiling negotiations continued to appear far from reaching a solution on Friday morning. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that the House is still waiting for the Senate to pass any proposal that addresses the debt ceiling, after which he said House-Senate negotiations could be possible on a way forward.

In the meantime, the Senate decided to cancel its planned weekend session and appeared to be far from reaching a position to pass any legislation addressing the issue.