Legislative Activity

Debt Ceiling Looms Over House Speaker Elections

According to the Treasury Department, the debt ceiling will be reached on November 3, leaving the House only five more legislative days to increase it. Complicating the issue, the floor vote for a new House Speaker is scheduled for Thursday, October 29, with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) widely expected to become the new Speaker. Current Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wants to pass a debt ceiling bill before Rep. Ryan becomes Speaker, to clear the contentious hurdle and offer the new Speaker a clean slate to work with.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats have said they will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, and are pushing for a “clean” increase. Though negotiations over the measure are reportedly underway, it is unlikely Republicans will be able to exact many, if any, concessions from Democrats. While Speaker Boehner could expect the full support of Congressional Democrats for a “clean” debt ceiling bill, he would also need the support of 30 House Republicans. Finding the Republican votes could be difficult, during the last “clean” debt ceiling increase, in 2014, only 28 House Republicans voted for the bill, and nine of those Members have since left Congress.

While the Republican Study Committee (RSC) offered a proposal to increase the debt ceiling, which included spending cuts and restrictions on agency regulations, it unlikely to get a vote as Republicans have had a difficult time building support for the measure.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 28: The Senate Appropriations Committee, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing to the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System.
  • Wednesday, October 28: The Senate Appropriations Committee, Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Securing America’s Future: Realizing the Potential of the DOE National Laboratories.”
  • Wednesday, October 28: The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled “Restoring the Trust for America’s Most Vulnerable.”