Another showdown in D.C. on the horizon

Posted at 3:10 PM, Jan 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-26 13:13:47-05

(CNN) — It was just over a month ago that lawmakers on Capitol Hill passed a bipartisan budget and members were singing “Kumbaya.”

Those days are over.

Now Washington has moved on to its next crisis, and it’s one you may be familiar with: the debt ceiling.

That budget lawmakers passed will keep the government running until 2015 but did nothing to address the nation’s debt ceiling.

When the government was shut down in October, the deal reopening it included suspending the debt limit until February 7. After that, the Treasury Department must use “extraordinary measures,” which would probably only prevent default for about a month.

Republicans say they want to attach something to the passage of a debt ceiling increase which will either increase jobs, decrease the debt or both.

“That’s been the pattern for 50 years, going back to the Eisenhower administration. I think it’s the responsible thing to do for the country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said there’s no way President Barack Obama would accept any attachments to passage of an increase in the debt limit.

“The American people should not have to pay the Republican Congress’ ransom for doing their most basic function, which is paying the bills. They have passed what is essentially a debt limit free of ideological riders the last two times. They should do it again and spare the country the drama,” Pfeiffer said, also on Fox.

Still, all may not be lost. McConnell did signal that Congress wouldn’t let the country go over the debt limit, even though Republicans would like to have more negotiations with the President.

“We need not have default. We’re not going to default. (House Speaker John Boehner) and I made that clear. We’ve never done that. But it’s irresponsible not to use the discussion, the request by the President to raise the debt ceiling, to try to accomplish something for the country,” McConnell said.

CNNMoney’s Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.