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House GOP floats new debt-ceiling deal, with strings attached

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Among House Republicans, frustrations with Senate Democrats run deep.

“The House has done its job and passed budgets, and we will again this year,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) of Washington, the GOP’s fourth-ranking member in the House, in a statement. “But the United States Senate is approaching four years without having passed a budget, and that must end because the Democratic majority in Washington is short-changing the American people.”

With their proposal, House Republicans are attempting to link the debt-ceiling fight to an idea with bipartisan appeal. The centrist political advocacy group No Labels and Rep. Jim Cooper (D) of Tennessee have pushed for “no budget, no pay” schemes. Existing “no budget, no pay” legislation has several dozen House sponsors of both parties (though the preponderance are Republican) and a dozen supporters in the Senate (all but one from the GOP).

But linking lawmakers’ pay to passing a budget does have issues, both legislative and philosophical.

First, the “no budget, no pay” scheme has one very prominent Senate detractor: majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, who has called the legislation “stupid.” On Friday, Senator Reid’s office didn't endorse the GOP's offer, asking instead for a "clean" – or attachment-free – debt-ceiling increase, but neither did it shoot down the idea entirely.

“It is reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage,” said Adam Jentleson, a Reid spokesman, in a statement. “If the House can pass a clean debt ceiling increase to avoid default and allow the United States to meet its existing obligations, we will be happy to consider it.”

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