The debt limit's X-date is approaching - the U.S. will likely hit its statutory limit in mid-October. As such, the debt ceiling will have to be raised in order to avoid economic catastrophe. Republicans in the House are debating what stipulations to add to a debt limit increase bill in order to get an outcome that would slow the government's future debt additions.
The Associated Press reports:
House Republicans are considering demanding Medicare and other budget savings, reining in the Obama administration's environmental agenda including greenhouse gas restrictions, and other proposals as the price for extending the government's ability to borrow money, GOP lawmakers and aides said Friday.
Republicans said that during closed-door discussions this week about what to include in upcoming legislation renewing federal borrowing authority, options have included blocking administration plans to curb coal ash pollution; forcing civil servants to contribute more to their retirement plans; and requiring Congress to approve many major regulations.
Other items considered all but certain to be included are a one-year delay in Obama's 2010 health care law; an easing of obstacles to building the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast; and a timeline for enactment of a broad tax code overhaul.
President Obama has said he will refuse to "negotiate" on a debt ceiling increase - a threat that he might not sign anything other than a clean debt ceiling hike. This runs counter to his attitude in 2006, when he said that any kind of a debt ceiling hike is "a sign of leadership failure... a sign that the U.S. government can't pay its own bills." The President's defenders say that the 2006 version of Barack Obama was a disingenuous camera-preener, merely pretending that he opposed debt ceiling hikes because they're unpopular with constitutents when in reality Illinois' junior senator would of course have voted for a debt ceiling hike if the vote were actually close.
President Obama voted against the debt ceiling hike in 2006. The hike passed by two votes.