Legislation introduced to delay dealing with debt

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 3:48am


House Republicans have introduced legislation that would allow the US to temporarily ignore the constraints of its debt ceiling until May 19, and postpone high-stakes negotiations over the country's borrowing authority.

The party leadership, which controls bill movement in the House, had announced earlier that it would vote this week on the measure, allowing for a possible defusing of tensions surrounding a host of fiscal challenges facing Congress and the White House in coming months. The government hit its statutory debt limit at the end of the year, but the administration has used several measures to postpone the devastating effects of reaching such a limit until late February or early March.

The bill was unveiled on Monday and would give more time for Democrats and Republicans to forge a compromise on the national budget, with Republicans demanding that spending cuts feature prominently in the new plan.

If the bill is passed into law, the current debt limit would be automatically extended as necessary until midnight, May 18.

The measure would also withhold salaries of members of Congress if one of the chambers does not pass a fiscal 2014 budget by April 15.