By Vicki Needham - 01/18/11 01:17 AM EST
After a Republican retreat Saturday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed the debt on Democrats and the Obama administration saying "President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been on a job-destroying spending spree that has left us with nothing but historic unemployment and the most debt in U.S. history."
While Boehner has said the debt ceiling must be raised, he's also insisting on pairing the bill with a package of spending cuts.
Lawmakers are facing a vote in several weeks to raise the government's borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion. Without the increase the U.S. could lose its credit rating and send financial markets into a downward spiral. In the past, the vote hasn't met with much resistance.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are falling behind in their aggressive schedule and aren't likely to consider major spending-cut bill until later in February or early March, closer to the March 4 expiration of the continuing resolution that is funding the government.
That could certainly complicate any potential deal on a combination of spending cuts and the debt limit, detracting from House Republicans' leverage and putting new House members in a tight spot between being forced to vote for raising the debt limit without an agreement.
"For someone like myself, how do you conscientiously look at our kids and our grandkids and say, I voted to continue to bury you in more debt instead of beginning the process that slows down and reverses the crazy spending that the Democrats have brought us over the last couple of years?" he said.
Lawmakers have until March 4 to figure out a way forward on a continuing resolution to keep the government running. The current resolution keeps spending at 2010 levels.
Schweikert said Senate Democrats need to work with House Republicans to determine "systematic changes."
"Let's start the path to some fiscal sanity," he said.