By Geneva Sands - 01/18/13 07:14 PM EST
"No, there is no risk of default. No one is talking about default. No one wants to default. I think we [Republicans] get cast in that image sometimes — that we want to default and we want to play with default. That's not true. We're talking about the debt ceiling, not default, and they are two entirely different things," said Mulvaney.
At the conference, House Republican leaders announced on Friday a plan to offer a three-month increase in the debt limit if the Senate commits to passing a budget by the April 15 statutory deadline. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House would vote next week on the proposal.
Mulvaney argued that if the debt ceiling deadline is pushed back a month, it will allow Congress to deal with things in a "reasonable order."
The South Carolina lawmaker also said that his party was "coalescing around a couple of plans" that were presented on Thursday to deal with the looming debt-ceiling debate.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters at the annual retreat Thursday that Republicans were discussing a short-term debt limit extension.
"I think it was fairly widely reported that Paul Ryan made a formal presentation yesterday, which he did. There's a lot of support growing for that plan," Mulvaney said.
He also noted that the current freshman class appears to be more fiscally conservative than the his class two years ago.
"Freshmen are at the microphone — they're not shy. They're talking here this week at this retreat about how important it is to get spending under control. If there is a coalescence, it is around how important spending reductions are. I think that's encouraging," he said.