Now that Congress has passed the appropriations bill for FY14, the next immediate gauntlet is the upcoming debt ceiling debate—the posturing has begun. Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) released a letter warning that Democrats would not give into demands in exchange for raising the debt limit next month. Sen. Murray’s ultimate goal is to try to get a clean debt-limit increase; she wants to stay away from negotiations centered on trying to repeal or modify all or parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Congress to deal with the debt limit by February 7 and stressed that any extraordinary measures his department can use to continue to pay the nation’s bills will in all likelihood run out by late February. In response to Secretary Lew’s urging, a spokesperson for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that a clean debt limit bill will not pass the Republican-majority House.