Yet that sentiment is where the divisions in the House Republican Conference begin. The conservative Republican Study Committee, which boasts a membership that comprises two-thirds of the Republican Conference, is pushing a bill that would forestall a “must pass” vote in Congress by giving the Treasury Department added authority to prioritize debt payments and prevent a full default if the ceiling were reached.
The legislation “assures lenders that their investments in the United States government are entirely safe,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), the lead House sponsor. “Congress will still have to deal with the issue of the debt limit. It simply takes a default off the table.”
Geithner has called the legislation, originally authored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), “unworkable” and potentially “quite harmful.”
Boehner has ignored the proposal, and GOP leadership aides are privately dismissive of it. One staffer said the bill would give “unprecedented power to the White House and the Treasury Department to pick who’s going to get paid.”