House Republicans discuss bill to tie debt to budget amendment

House conservatives will introduce a “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that would tie any increase of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

House Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Ariz.), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHow Chaffetz could get rich on K Street Oversight asks Trump for details on foreign profit donations Jason Chaffetz exploring private sector jobs: report MORE (R-Utah), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) met on Wednesday to discuss the measure, a source close to the talks told The Hill.

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A similar measure has been sponsored in the Senate, which gained the backing of 12 conservative Senators.

Support among Republicans for a balanced budget amendment has been growing, though it would appear to face a tough climb in the Senate. House GOP leaders in recent days appear to have warmed toward the legislation, and Jordan said leadership was aware of his group's discussions. 

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told The Hill on Wednesday that leadership has not ruled out introducing a GOP plan to raise the debt ceiling, should negotiations with the White House fail to produce a deal.

A leadership aide, however, told The Hill that, at this point, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorBrat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule House staffer, Monsanto vet named to top Interior posts MORE (R-Va.) were focused solely on negotiations at the White House — even though those discussions seemed to hit a wall late Wednesday afternoon.

Both parties will meet again on Thursday to resume their talks.

Veteran GOP Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) was skeptical of any group attempting to go around leadership to produce stand-alone plans while negotiations continue with the president.

“We can’t have a situation where somebody comes up with a bright idea in a backroom — it would have to be embraced by leadership,” Cole told The Hill.

“At the end of the day, little groups of members can’t impose their will on the entire conference — nobody can impose, that’s a leadership function,” Cole added.