Debt Ceiling Fight Could Last to Thanksgiving

With the GOP unlikely to OK a tax increase, a compromise could be months away.

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Predictions in Congress are growing that House and Senate leaders will cancel some or all of the four-week August recess to work on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, with some suggesting that the talks could last until Thanksgiving.

"This is the moment for the major fight of this Congress," said one House GOP adviser.

Gone appears any chance the GOP will approve a tax increase, meaning that they will have to wait out the Democrats on the issue, said the adviser who added that the Republicans are firming up their positions on other budget issues. For example, there is a big push by the GOP now to have spending cuts higher than the amount the president wants to raise the debt ceiling. [6 Consequences if the Debt Ceiling Isn't Raised]

"It will have to include huge cuts that exceed the amount of debt limit extension. The guys in the House may have decided that now," said the adviser.

"Maybe they will just cancel August recess and arm wrestle this bad boy out from here until the Democrats give in on tax increases and huge spending cuts. That could be as late as Thanksgiving," said the adviser.

That would require passage of a short-term deal of cuts for an increase in the debt ceiling. President Obama ruled that out today, but GOP officials said he would have little choice but to sign if the talks continue to stall.

Another issue: Already, 35 House members and 12 senators have signed a conservative pledge to reject any deal that doesn't include a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment, cuts in spending, and a cap on future spending.

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