GOP Debt Ceiling Demands Seem to Be Shrinking

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_da7c3159c3.jpgAlena Yakusheva/Thinkstock (WASHINGTON) -- It’s official: the debt limit will be reached on Thursday, according to the Treasury Department, and once again, it appears the country is on the verge of crisis. For the next few weeks, so-called “extraordinary measures” will keep the country from slipping into default, but in the meantime, many are holding their breath for House Republicans to announce what they’ll demand in exchange for raising the debt limit.

Over the last several years, however, the list of GOP demands seems to have shrunk from grand ideas of one-for-one spending cuts to far less ambitious measures.

Gone are the days when the debt ceiling was negotiated to extract trillions in spending cuts or pledges to tackle the tough issues, such as entitlement programs.

In October, Republicans agreed to raise the debt limit in exchange for minor changes to President Obama’s health care law and a pledge to tackle the budget, which ultimately resulted in a modest, short-term budget deal.

This time, Republicans reportedly can’t agree on what they’ll ask for, and they’ve already rejected ideas ranging from demands for the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and making further changes to the health care law.

How this latest debt limit chapter will end is hard to say. But from the history of debt limit negotiations, it seems that Republican ambitions are continuing to shrink.

AUGUST 2011

Proposal: Rejected

  • Cut, Cap and Balance Act proposed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget

Proposal: Rejected

  • $1 trillion increase in the debt limit in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts

Proposal: Rejected

  • Spending cuts equal to or greater than spending increase

Proposal: Approved

  • $1 trillion in cuts in exchange for a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit
  • The bill put in place the sequester, which would trigger automatic cuts unless the supercommittee came up with additional voluntary spending reductions

FEBRUARY 2013

Proposal: Rejected

  • Increase debt limit by $1 trillion in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

Proposal: Approved

  • Allowed the federal government to keep borrowing money until May 19 in exchange for suspending congressional paychecks through the No Budget No Pay Act unless Congress passes a budget.

OCTOBER 2013

Proposal: Rejected

  • House Speaker John Boehner suggested that he’d like negotiations with the president to include entitlement reform. But he ruled out including new tax revenues as part of a deal.

Proposal: Rejected

  • Repeal of a tax on medical devices
  • Require income verification for Obamacare subsidies

Proposal: Rejected

  • Block insurance subsidies for lawmakers, their aides and administration officials
  • Ban extraordinary measures by the Treasury Department

Proposal: Approved

  • Require income verification for Obamacare subsidies
  • Long term budget deal deadline by Dec. 13

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