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GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes

GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes
© Greg Nash

A group of GOP senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would require debt-limit increases to be offset by spending cuts.

The bill — from Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (R-Ohio), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (R-Utah), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances Trump pick for EPA No. 2 | Pruitt questions ‘assumptions’ on climate | Dems want Pruitt recused from climate rule review Senate panel advances Trump pick for No. 2 official at EPA MORE (R-Wyo.) and Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonFrustrated Republicans accuse Paul of forcing pointless shutdown Budget deal is brimming with special tax breaks House funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms MORE (R-Ga.) — comes one week after the debt limit was reinstated.

“If we’re going to raise the debt limit, we should also rein in spending and address our massive debt. That’s just common sense,” Portman said in a statement. 

“Our current spending and debt levels are unsustainable. They threaten to drive up tax rates, reduce economic growth, and leave an increasingly heavy burden on future generations of Americans." 

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Congress will likely need to raise the debt ceiling by the fall in order to avoid a default, but there could be challenges to doing so. Some Republicans are adamant that an increase be paired with spending cuts, while Democrats have said they want a "clean" debt-limit hike with no additional measures attached.

Under the Senate Republicans' bill, legislation to raise the debt limit would also need to include dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. The spending reductions could take place over a 10-year period and would not be allowed to include timing shifts and expiring spending for emergency purposes.

The bill would also require presidential requests to increase the debt limit to include proposals to reduce spending.

The notion of tying debt-limit hikes to dollar-for-dollar spending cuts is often called the "BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE rule" since former House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE (R-Ohio) advocated for it. However, the rule was not always followed on debt-limit increases while Boehner was Speaker.