The House Rules Committee debates a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling, and allow the U.S. government to pay its bills until May 19.
Unlike past debt ceiling hikes, no specific dollar amount is associated with this bill. Instead, the bill temporarily suspends the debt limit and allows the government to borrow as necessary to meet its obligations.
President Obama had told congressional leaders that he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling. Republican leaders had hoped that the debt limit would allow Congress to pass a set of debt and spending reductions, but decided that the risk to the economy of a last minute deal was to high.
In 2011, a last minute debt ceiling battle forced one of the credit ratings agencies to downgrade U.S. treasuries for the first time in U.S. history.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his plan to move forward with a debt ceiling suspension during the Republican retreat in Williamsburg, Va., last week. He said that he intends to work on deficit reduction and spending cuts independently of the debt ceiling debate.