House Cancels Next Recess to Work Through Debt Deal

By Eliza

Jul 8, 2011 11:26am

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

While there are some skeptics in Washington that suggest the administration and congressional leadership are overhyping the dangers of defaulting on the country’s statutory debt limit, the House of Representatives has decided to skip an upcoming planned week of recess to stay in Washington and work through the legislative calendar until a deal is signed into law.

Earlier Friday, House Speaker John Boehner stressed the “serious challenge facing the country” and said that “while some think that we can go past [the Treasury’s deadline] August 2, I frankly think it puts us in an awful lot of jeopardy and puts our economy in jeopardy, risking even more jobs.”

“It’s important that we come to an agreement, but it has to be an agreement that really does fundamentally change our spending and our debt situation,” Boehner said.  “There are a lot of conversations continuing, but I don’t – in all honesty I don’t think things have narrowed, I don’t think this problem has narrowed at all in the last several days.”

Heeding his warning, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Friday that the House will skip its next legislative break and stay in session the week of July 18-22 in order to continue working on a debt limit deal. The next planned recess begins August 6, after the Treasury Department’s deadline to raise the debt ceiling, when lawmakers will break until after Labor Day.

Cantor, R-Va., also announced that he will bring H.J. Res. 1, the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, to the floor for consideration a week earlier than previously planned.

H.J. Res. 1 is a three-part amendment that would change the Constitution to require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts; require that bills to raise revenues pass each House of Congress by a 3/5 majority; and finally it would establish an annual spending cap such that total federal spending could not exceed 1/5 of the economic output of the United States.

In order to become law, the amendment would have to pass through both chambers of Congress with a two-thirds majority, and would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of the 50 U.S. states.

The Senate skipped a planned Independence Day break this week to continue working on the deal, but is out of session Friday despite not having accomplished anything substantive on the Senate floor this week regarding the debt limit.

Congressional leadership is due to report back to the White House on Sunday after the president tasked them to work around the clock and through the weekend in an attempt to break the impasse between Republicans and Democrats.

President Obama described the goalfor leaders to return to the White House and report “where each other's bottom lines are, and will, hopefully, be in a position to then start engaging in the hard bargaining that's necessary to get a deal done.”

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