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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Boehner Drops Conditions on Raising Debt Limit -- By Elliot Jager, NewsMax

Image: Boehner Drops Conditions on Raising Debt LimitThe House will vote Wednesday on raising the U.S. debt limit without conditions, Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday, ignoring factions of his party that called for tying the measure to defunding of Obamacare and including benefits for military retirees.

Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said Democrats will need to back the measure, which will get minimal Republican support.

"We’ll let the Democrats put the votes up," Boehner said, adding that he had spoken to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who told him there will be enough Democratic support to pass the measure.

On Monday night, Republicans had said they would move a debt-limit increase that would include benefits for military retirees. President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have said for months that a debt-ceiling increase must not be combined with any other policy measures.

"The bottom line is we need to get our work done," Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, told reporters Tuesday after a private party meeting. Regarding a simple extension, Sessions said, "That’s what I think will end up passing."

A suspension of the U.S. debt limit enacted by Congress in October expired Feb. 7. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said last week that borrowing authority may not last past Feb. 27.

Boehner has struggled to find enough support from divided Republican lawmakers to increase the debt limit, joking last week that he’d have trouble getting enough votes from them even if the measure authorized sainthood for Mother Teresa.

Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were attempting to cobble together a 218-vote majority and hoped that tying the debt limit to the military pension cuts could bring together enough votes from both sides of the aisle.

But the Republican leaders seemingly could not garner enough support.

Tea party-leaning Republicans would rather offset a rise in the debt ceiling with across-the-board reductions in entitlements. Democrats have been pushing for a no-strings-attached "clean" vote on the debt ceiling.

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