By Molly K. Hooper - 07/26/13 10:00 AM EDT
House Republicans are fretting over the looming fiscal battles this fall.
When the House returns in September, there will only be a limited amount of legislative days to pass a bill to fund the government for fiscal 2014.
“We haven't had any real guidance, and it's going to be short-stringed because we only have nine [legislative days] in September,” Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) told The Hill.
The House is scheduled to be in session for two weeks before recessing between Sept. 23 and Sept. 28.
A separate high-ranking lawmaker close to the leadership told The Hill that he hasn’t heard anything about the debt limit or a government-funding measure: “That will be on top of us with suffocating pressure very soon.”
Although numerous lawmakers point to early November as the deadline before which Congress and the president must raise the national debt limit, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) predicts that an increase will be tied to a government-funding bill. That would move the debt-limit date to Sept. 30 as well.
“We've got [a continuing resolution] coming Oct. 1 and supposedly the debt ceiling on the first of November. Those two are going to be weaved together whether there's a 30-day separation or not,” Terry said.
House GOP leaders held a “listening session” with the rank-and-file members in mid-May to discuss the debt, budget and spending. It was supposed to be the first of several similar debt- and budget-related meetings.
Terry says the House GOP hasn’t held a closed-door meeting on the matter since then.
Earlier this year, leadership had anticipated a heated summer battle with the White House over increasing the debt limit. But tax revenue from the fiscal cliff deal has delayed the fight by several months.
Some Republicans fear a repeat of the fiscal cliff debate, which was a debacle for House Republicans.
The lack of information has frustrated conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).
“There's a lot of frustration there. Not that immigration isn't a big deal. Not that the farm bill's not a big deal. But the big deal is our long-term liability and debt ceiling and budget. That's the big deal. I wish we were dealing with long-term liabilities,” the Republican Study Committee member said.
Appeasing conservatives, who are demanding that the party defund ObamaCare, has complicated matters for GOP leadership officials as they attempt to craft a plan to avoid a government shutdown.
Sixty-four House Republicans have signed on to a letter demanding that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) not bring any legislation funding ObamaCare to the floor.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the leader of a similar Senate effort, predicts the vast majority of the Senate Republican Conference will back his plan, giving him enough votes to sustain a filibuster of a stopgap spending measure.
Asked to respond to such demands, Boehner said on Thursday that “no decisions” had been made on the continuing resolution. When pressed on the matter, Boehner shot back the same response to reporters at his weekly news conference.
It is unclear whether GOP leaders intend to hold any conference calls specifically on the budget, debt limit or government spending measure during the August recess.
The White House has repeatedly indicated it would not negotiate on the debt limit, calling on Congress to pass a "clean" debt-ceiling increase. On Thursday in an exchange on the House floor, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) asked Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) whether the House would vote on a clean debt bill this fall. Cantor responded that the House would not vote on such a measure in September.
Two years ago, the House soundly rejected a clean debt hike.