US House leader will not block debt, shutdown rescue bill

16 October 2013 21:55  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--House Speaker John Boehner (Republican-Ohio) said on Wednesday that he will not block the Senate-generated agreement to raise the government’s debt ceiling and end the partial federal shutdown.

Boehner said that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives “has fought with everything it has” to get President Barack Obama and the Democrat-majority Senate to address the nation’s debt and deficit spending.

“That fight will continue,” Boehner said, “but blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”

Boehner’s statement virtually assures that the compromise spending and debt ceiling bill worked out among Republicans and Democrats in the Senate earlier on Wednesday will get House approval and be headed to the White House later for Obama’s signature.

As House speaker, Boehner could have blocked the Senate measure simply by refusing to send the bill to the House floor for a vote in an effort to further press Senate Democrats and Obama for spending cuts.  But the risk of sending the federal government into default apparently disuaded Boehmer from such a tactic.

The measure negotiated in the Senate restores federal spending authority until 15 January and raises the government’s borrowing limit - the debt ceiling - to a level that will cover Treasury bond sales up to 7 February.

With spending authority restored - when the bill is approved by both houses and signed by Obama - the federal government will be able to bring back some 800,000 workers who have been on furlough for just over two weeks, and the partial shutdown of government operations will be ended.

The measure’s provision raising the debt ceiling until early February eliminates the threat of a US government default on its obligations that would have kicked in at midnight Wednesday.

Economists, business leaders and members of both parties feared that a US government default would trigger a new US recession and even a global economic downturn.

At late afternoon Washington time on Wednesday, Senate members were still discussing the debt limit and shutdown rescue bill, but the chamber was expected to pass the measure soon and send it to the House.

There, as Boehner has already stated, the bill will be put before the 435 House members where it is expected to get support from most if not all Democrats and enough Republicans to reach the 218-vote majority needed for passage.

The bill will be rushed to the White House so that Obama can sign the measure before the debt ceiling witching hour of midnight.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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