Budget and Funding Done but Debt Limit Battle Brewing

After the House of Representatives passed a budget and a stop-gap measure to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year today, Congress is now poised to turn its attention to a fresh battle over a looming debt limit increase.

House Speaker John Boehner said he plans to negotiate from a principle that any increase is matched dollar-for-dollar with spending reductions and reforms, although he downplayed the risks he is willing to take in negotiations.

"Dollar for dollar is the plan," Boehner, R-Ohio, said, acknowledging he has some rare influence over Democrats on the issue. "There might be some [leverage] there, but I'm not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government."

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Boehner's hard line on the debt limit is "a road to poverty" and House Democrats will continue to demand a clean debt limit increase.

"There shouldn't even be this kind of a debate," Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "There shouldn't be any doubt in anybody's mind as to what the outcome is about, the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

"If you keep saying dollar for dollar, pretty soon you have very little in terms of the public space," she said. "[Republicans] do not believe in a public role, bless their hearts. They act upon their belief, but it's really important for the American people to know what that choice is."

The House voted this morning to pass Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's budget blueprint, outlining spending levels over the next decade while achieving an annual budget surplus in the year 2023.

Moreover, there will be no government shutdown for the next six months after the House voted this morning to approve the Senate's changes to the House-passed continuing resolution, sending the bill to fund the government on to the president for his signature. The president is expected to sign the legislation when he returns from an overseas trip to Middle East.

The budget resolution, which passed 221-207, was opposed by all House Democrats in addition to 10 House Republicans. Those dissenting GOPers are Reps. Justin Amash, Paul Broun, Rick Crawford, Chris Gibson, Phil Gingrey, Joe Heck, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie, and David McKinley opposed the budget resolution. Last year, 10 Republicans also voted against the Ryan budget, including Amash, Gibson, Jones, and McKinley.

That vote passed 318-109, with 203 Republicans voting in favor along with 115 Democrats. Twenty-seven Republicans opposed the stop-gap appropriations measure, voting to shut down the government, in addition to 82 Democrats.

Boehner also criticized the Senate Democrats' budget proposal because it does not demonstrate a balance of revenue and spending, a standard he said will continue to guide Republicans in future budget negotiations.

"The American people overwhelmingly support balancing our budget, and the budget that Senate Democrats are considering never balances, ever," Boehner said.

"I didn't come here for a fancy title or a big office," he continued. "I want to hand my kids and grandkids the same shot at the American dream that I had, not some mountain of debt. And that's why Republicans are standing with the American people and working to balance the federal budget."

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