Republicans, White House reach deal on debt extension


The White House and top lawmakers from both parties reached a deal to avoid a debt default after November 3, putting lawmakers on course to stave off a fiscal calamity. The accord will extend the government’s borrowing authority until March 2017 and also include a two-year deal on spending, aides from both parties said. House and Senate Republican leaders presented the plan to members Monday night and a draft of the bill was later posted on the White House website. “It is a good deal,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican. He said the plan would raise spending caps for defense and non-defense programs for two years, though it would keep discretionary spending below 2008 levels. The agreement wouldn’t eliminate the chance of a government shutdown if lawmakers can’t resolve differences over spending priorities and policy riders by December 11, when current funding expires. Still, "it really dramatically lowers the chances for a shutdown," Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, told reporters. Second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas said that if the House passes the plan by Thursday, the measure can be sent to the Senate in time for that chamber to meet the November 3 deadline to raise the debt limit and avoid default. The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders were involved in talks on the proposal. That means House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio probably will rely on Democratic support to try to pass the bill amid opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus, the hardline group of about three- dozen Republicans whose opposition drove Boehner to resign. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is set to be elected speaker on Thursday. By James Rowley, Erik Wasson and Terrence Dopp (Bloomberg)

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