House GOP weighs repealing military pension cuts as condition for federal debt limit increase

The Associated Press

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Carney answered questions on topics including recent developments in Congress. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Lawmakers temporarily suspended the borrowing limit last October in an agreement that ended a government shutdown and extended the federal borrowing limit. With a fresh extension of borrowing authority now needed again, the GOP debt limit plan is likely to employ the same approach and suspend the debt limit through early next year.

Raising the limit is needed so the government, which ran a $680 billion deficit last year, can borrow enough to pay all its bills, including Social Security benefits, interest payments on the accumulated debt and government salaries.

After last year's 16-day shutdown and accompanying debt battle, Republicans controlling the House are no longer interested in a big fight with Obama over raising the borrowing cap, preferring to keep the election-year focus on Obama's unpopular health care law.

Obama gave in to GOP demands in 2011 to pair a $2.1 trillion increase in the debt limit with an equal amount in spending cuts, mostly to the Pentagon and domestic agency operating budgets. He has since refused to negotiate over the debt limit.

Republicans last year gave Obama two debt increases with only modest add-ons, like a provision to force the Senate to pass a federal budget.

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