The House legislation would extend the debt limit for three months. The bill also requires congressional pay to be withheld if Congress does not pass a budget by April 15. Republicans have criticized Senate Democrats for not passing a budget the last few years.
Democrats have called for a “clean” debt ceiling increase without any “strings attached.” The government will reach its debt limit next month. The Republican proposal to extend the debt ceiling for three months is an attempt to give lawmakers more time to agree to spending-cuts and entitlement reform to lower the deficit.
McConnell said entitlement reform has to be part of the overall budget reductions since the programs are a major expense for the federal government.
“If we don’t work together to strengthen our entitlement programs, they will go bankrupt,” McConnell said. “Automatic cuts will be forced on seniors already receiving benefits, rendering worthless the promises that they’ve built their retirements around. It’s nice to say, as the president did [Monday], that these programs free us to take the risks that make our country great. But if we don’t act to strengthen and protect them now, in a few years they simply won’t be there in their current form.”
Democrats have called for more tax revenue through closing loop holes to be part of any deficit reduction deal.