The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 24, 2013

GOP offers smaller budget cuts on debt measure

(Continued)

Taken together, these proposals and others could cut spending by perhaps $200 billion over the coming decade. While GOP aides say details aren't set, House leaders are looking at an increase in the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling sufficient to cover the government's bills until the beginning of 2015. According to calculations by the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank in Washington, that would require raising the borrowing cap by almost $1 trillion.

Boehner insists that any increase in the borrowing cap be matched by budget cuts and other reforms to produce savings of an equal amount, though not on a dollar-for-dollar basis over 10 years like in 2011. It's a somewhat nebulous standard because of the difficulty in quantifying how much any given "reform" is worth.

Obama says he won't negotiate concessions as the price for authority to continue borrowing to cover bills already incurred and promises already made and has demanded a "clean" debt limit increase with no conditions attached.

The looming debt limit showdown is separate from the "defund Obamacare" fight occupying the Senate this week in the face of Oct. 1 deadline for completing a temporary spending bill and a averting a partial government shutdown.

GOP lawmakers and aides say the debt ceiling measure will be paired with a one-year delay in requiring people to buy health insurance under Obama's Affordable Care Act or face federal fines. They also plan to attach to it a tax reform package lowering rates and closing loopholes, an increase in offshore oil leases and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Boehner views tax reform and the Keystone pipeline as economy boosters that will produce new government revenues exceeding any debt limit increase. A boost in growth domestic product (GDP) of just one-tenth of 1 percentage point, for example, would increase the government revenues by more than $300 billion over a decade according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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