House approves legislation to extend debt ceiling talks

170px-Seal_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives.svgOn Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 285-144 to extend debt ceiling negotiations, suspending the government’s borrowing restriction until late May.

The legislation, which includes a provision that would force the Senate to develop a budget plan by suspending legislators’ pay if they fail to come up with spending cuts by April 15, would delay the nation’s obligation to pay its bills until May 18 or later, according to The New York Times.

The National Retail Federation expressed support for the House’s decision and “No Budget, No Pay” provision.

“This move will give Congress the time it needs to deal with the debt ceiling in a thoughtful and deliberative manner rather than letting it turn into another fiscal cliff,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, according to The Huffington Post. “Giving Congress a powerful incentive to pass a federal budget is an important part of this bill. Living within a budget is the key to prudent management of our nation’s fiscal health in the first place. Every single day, retailers make tough decisions about their finances in order to pay their employees and to work within their budgets, and our government should do the same.”

Rep. Steve Fleming (R-La.), who voted in favor of the legislation, said that now that national default is no longer a looming threat, Congress can begin discussion regarding automatic spending cuts to military and domestic programs, a process known as sequestration, that are set to take effect March 1.

“This is the beginning of the beginning,” Fleming said, The Huffington Post reports. “Now we can get down to the real debate, and that is…what are we going to be cutting [and] what are we going to be reducing in spending. That’s where the real debate is going to be, and that’s where it ought to be.”

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