House Approves Debt Ceiling Suspension
The House approved
legislation (H.R. 325) this week to extend the debt ceiling deadline
until May 18 with provisions authorizing suspension of congressional
salaries if either chamber fails to pass a FY 2014 budget by April 14th.
There is bipartisan support for the measure in the Senate and the White
House also supports it.
Suspending the debt ceiling
until May is intended to provide time for Republicans and Democrats to
work out a deal to avoid sequestration (automatic budget cuts scheduled
to take effect March 1, 2013) and work on funding government beyond the
Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires on March 27, 2013. The release
of the Administration’s FY 2014 budget request, usually released
in early February, will also be delayed until a yet-to-be-determined
These actions and
continuing uncertainty about the possibility of sequestration cuts and
whether another CR will be authorized to keep government spending at FY
2012 levels for the remainder of the year has prompted DoD and the
individual services to order hiring freezes, cancel training and certain
travel, delay maintenance and halt other non-readiness-related programs
to help reduce spending.